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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…

Mother of man set to hang in Singapore urges PM to intercede

Prabagaran Srivijayan
Prabagaran Srivijayan
A woman today pleaded with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to intercede on behalf of her son, Prabagaran Srivijayan, who was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore and sentenced to die.

V. Eswary, 54, said in an open letter to the PM that she was told her 29-year-old son received an "unfair trial".

She said that the car he drove when he was arrested did not belong to him, but to a friend who lent it to Prabagaran. Prabagaran only used the car as he was afraid his motorcycle would be repossessed due to delinquent payments.

"Prabagaran was caught by the police because there was 'stuff' in the car," Eswary said in the letter read out by a representative at a press conference here.

"I was told by the lawyers that the proceedings and trial in Prabagaran's case were unfair. All his cases in the Singapore courts were rejected," she said.

Eswary said she last met her son on Monday, when he broke down and maintained his innocence.

"He's always cries, saying he didn't do it and said he is being forced to admit," Eswary added.

According to the Berita Daily news portal, Prabagaran was arrested in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a banned opiate was discovered wrapped in 2 bundles in the centre console of the car he drove at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

He was convicted in 2014 and given the death sentence that is mandated by the republic's drug laws.

Concerns about possible unfairness in the trial arose when it emerged that the conviction was secured without the testimony of 2 purportedly key witnesses.

Prabagaran has exhausted all legal avenues to appeal his conviction in Singapore.

His case was taken up by M. Ravi who professed to be an international human rights advocate and established the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.

Ravi is working with Malaysian lawyers Latheefa Koya and N. Surendran to urge Putrajaya to try and stop Prabagaran's execution.

At the press conference, Ravi said that he submitted a memorandum to the Malaysian government via its consulate in Singapore on December 22, but has not received any response despite being promised one.

The memorandum was in relation Singapore's obligation to uphold the right to a fair trial.

He said that the Malaysian government could file an immediate complaint with the International Court of Justice on Prabagaran's case.

"I think Singapore, in my respectful opinion, will abide by the decision," he said.

Ravi later told Malay Mail Online that he was a former lawyer who had previously represented Prabagaran in the Singapore courts.

Source: themalaymailonline.com, January 11, 2017


2 drug pushers sentenced to death in Malaysia


The High Court here sentenced 2 men to death for trafficking 745.6gm and 52.1gm of syabu respectively on Wednesday.

High Court Judge Datuk Nurchaya Arshad delivered the sentence on Andy Majudil, 35, a local, and Mohd Noor Jumat, 38, a Brunei national after finding that the prosecution had proven its case.

They appeared calm upon hearing the verdict.

Andy and Noor were found guilty of committing the offence at a house in Taman Nelly, Inanam at 9.30pm on Nov 19, 2013.

They were convicted under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act which carries the death penalty upon conviction.

Andy and Mohd Noor had on Nov 29, last year, respectively gave unsworn statements in their defence.

They were represented by counsel Ram Singh and Datuk Seri Rakhbir Singh respectively, while Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Farah Farriza Wan Ghazali appeared for the prosecution.

Source: thestar.com.my, January 11, 2017

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