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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…

Saudi executes 153 in 2016: Amnesty International

Public execution of a Burmese woman in Saudi Arabia in 2016
Public execution of a Burmese woman in Saudi Arabia in 2016
Saudi Arabia executed more than 150 prisoners in 2016 for breaking kingdom's strict Islamic laws

Saudi Arabia executed more than 150 prisoners under their strict Islamic laws, new figures have shown.

The ultra-conservative kingdom, one of the world's most prolific executioners, punishes crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy with the death penalty.

According to Amnesty International a total of 153 executions were carried out in 2016, slightly down in the 158 carried out the previous year.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for 'terrorism' offences on a single day last January.

They included prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions, leading Riyadh to sever relations.

Most people put to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword and the grisly event can often draw a small crowd.

Human rights group Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year was the highest for 2 decades.

And the level of executions was criticised today by Allan Hogarth, Amnesty International UK's head of policy and government affairs, who said the kingdom is 'making a mockery of justice'.

Mr Hogarth told the Independent: 'The death penalty is always cruel and unnecessary, but the Saudi justice system lacks evens the basics of a fair trial system.

'It's truly frightening that its courts are sentencing so many people to death... Saudi Arabia is making a mockery of justice and dozens of people are paying with their lives.

'It's time that 'strategic allies' like the UK started speaking out about this shocking state of affairs. For too long Downing Street has bent over backwards to avoid 'offending' the Saudi royals.'

Source: dailymail.co.uk, December 31, 2016


Saudi executes 153 in 2016


Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions in 2016, according to an AFP tally based on official announcements, slightly down from the year before.

The ultra-conservative kingdom is one of the world's most prolific executioners and has a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Rights group Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia carried out at least 158 death sentences in 2015, coming third after Iran and Pakistan.

Amnesty's figures do not include secretive China.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for "terrorism" offences on a single day in January.

They included prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions, leading Riyadh to sever relations.

Source: Agence France-Presse, December 31, 2016


Saudi Arabia: Generosity of Saudi Man Saves Indian from Execution


December 28, 2016: Limbadri, an Indian worker, never had it in his wildest dreams that he would escape death sentence especially after he had spent eight years behind bars waiting for execution.

He thought his head would be separated from his body in an implantation of a court rule which sentenced him to capital punishment after killing a Saudi during a fight.

With the date of execution coming closer, Awad bin Guraiah Al-Yami, a Saudi businessman, intervened with the family of the victim to pardon the killer offering them SR1.3 million as diyah (blood money).

Yami’s good offices were fruitful when the family accepted the blood money and pardoned the murderer.

The court endorsed the pardon and the Indian worker is now waiting to be released from prison.

The Indian was working in a farm in Najran.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa, December 18, 2016

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