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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…

Qatar court confirms death penalty for 2 from Tamil Nadu, India

Doha, Qatar
The highest court of Qatar on Monday upheld death penalties awarded to 2 labourers from Tamil Nadu and commuted the life sentence of a third to 15 years' imprisonment. 

The Court of Cassation's decision means that Alagappa Subramanian and Chinnadurai Perumal - on death row - and Sivakumar Arasan have exhausted their legal options. 

All 3 were convicted of the 2012 murder of a woman who was a Qatari citizen.

"The court also rejected the prosecution's appeal to have the death penalty awarded to Mr. Arasan. The only options left to these men is a clemency petition to the Emir of Qatar. 

The Indian Embassy will have to do this," said Nizar Kochery, a lawyer engaged by the Indian Embassy to represent the 3 men.

The case has gone through 3 tiers of the country's judiciary. The Indian Embassy stepped in only after the 2nd tier in July 2016, ahead of the deadline to file appeals papers after a Doha appeals court upheld a lower court's December 31, 2014 sentences.

The case came to light after Suresh Kumar, a Nagercoil-based lawyer, travelled to Qatar to meet the convicts. He had been informed of the case by C. Rajammal, Mr. Perumal's wife. "I have informed Rajammal of today's verdict. I also reached out to Sivakumar's family. Subramanian's family remains untraceable," he said.

Mr. Kumar said that Mr. Subramanian maintained that he was from Pudukkottai but those living in the address he provided said they did not know him. Perumal hailed from Virudhunagar district while Mr. Arasan was from Kallakurichi in Villupuram. After Ms. Rajammal submitted a memorandum, the Tamil Nadu government released Rs. 9.5 lakh for their legal expenses. "I have advised Ms. Rajammal to try to meet the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. Perumal is a kidney patient and received treatment within the jail," said Mr. Kumar.

"We have to always respect the local laws and work through the local governments and authorities," said Dyaneshwar M. Mulay, Secretary (CPV & OIA), Ministry of External Affairs, when asked about the case during a press conference on Tuesday. 

The last Indian to be executed - by a firing squad - in Qatar was Arun Abraham from Kerala, in March 2003.

Source: The Hindu, January 3, 2017

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