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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Jordan: Five ISIS militants, four drug traffickers sentenced to death

Jordanian police officers
December 28, 2016: A Jordanian court sentenced five members of an ISIL cell to death by hanging for acts of terrorism.

The state security court in Amman also handed jail terms of between three and 15 years to another 16 Jordanians in the same case.

They were found guilty of deadly "acts of terrorism", the manufacture of explosives and "possession of weapons and ammunition for use in terrorist acts" and recruiting people for "terrorist organisations".

The group of 21 were members of an ISIL cell that was broken up in March during a large-scale security operation in the northern town of Irbid, near the border with Syria.

Seven suspected militants and a member of the Jordanian security forces were killed during the operation.

The authorities announced later that they had foiled ISIL attacks in the kingdom, which had already been hit by deadly attacks over the past year.

Ten people were killed in a shooting rampage on December 18 in the popular tourist destination of Karak. 

The attack was claimed by ISIL and marked the first time the group had targeted civilians in Jordan.

Two days later, the authorities arrested a man suspected of funding the attack in a raid on a house in Karak province.

December 26, 2016: A state security court sentenced four Jordanians to death for murdering a member of the security forces involved in the fight against drugs trafficking, a judicial source said.

Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, the source said the four were sentenced to die by hanging for killing the policeman in September in Aqaba province some 300 kilometres (180 miles) south of Amman.

The four were also convicted of "possession of automatic weapons... leading to the death of a person", the source added.

A fifth defendant in the same case was sentenced to 18 months in jail for possessing an unlicensed firearm.

The policeman had been taking part in an operation to arrest a person accused of drugs possession when he was fired on by gunmen in two cars.

In August, the authorities said more than six tonnes of illegal drugs had been seized and more than 13,000 people suspected of smuggling, possessing or using drugs were arrested during the first half of the year.

The interior ministry says 85 percent of drugs seized in Jordan are destined to be smuggled abroad. 

Source: Agence France-Presse, December 26-28, 2016


Security Court hands down death sentence for killer of slain writer Nahed Hattar


December 20, 2016: Jordan's Deputy Director General of the State Security Court sentenced the killer of writer Nahed Hattar to death by hanging, al-Ghad newspaper reported.

Military judge Ziad al-Adwan added in a statement that the court had also investigated a second defendant who sold the weapon to the murderer, and a third defendant who acted as a middle-man in buying the weapon. Each were sentenced to one year in jail and fines.

Riad Ismail Abdullah, the primary suspect in Hattar's murder was convicted on charges of carrying out acts of terrorism, murder, and carrying and possession of a firearm without a license.

Hattar was gunned down on September 25 on the steps of the supreme court, and Abdullah was arrested immediately after committing the crime.

The prosecutor general of the State Security Court concluded its investigation on October 18 and referred the case file to the court for sentencing.

Source: albawaba.com, December 20, 2016

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