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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…

Urgent Action: 4th Death Sentence Issued in Belarus Before New Year

 Kiryl Kazachok
Kiryl Kazachok
Kiryl Kazachok was sentenced to death by the Gomel Regional Court, in southeast Belarus, on 28 December 2016. His was the 4th death sentence to be issued in Belarus in 2016.

Kiryl Kazachok was sentenced to death by the Gomel Regional Court, in southeast Belarus, on 28 December. He was found guilty of killing his two children on 31 January 2016. He called the police following the incident, before trying to kill himself.

His lawyer will appeal the death sentence. If the sentence is upheld by the Supreme Court, Kiryl Kazachok will appeal directly to the President for clemency. It is highly probable that the sentence will be upheld and his clemency denied, leaving him at risk of execution shortly afterwards.

No warning is given of the date or time of execution and no final meeting with relatives is granted. Death row inmates are executed with a shot to the back of the head. In accordance with Belarusian law, their bodies are not returned to their families for burial, nor is the location of the burial site disclosed.

Belarus is the only country in Europe and Central Asia which continues to use the death penalty.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. It violates the right to life, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

TAKE ACTION


Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

-- Urging President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to commute the death sentence of Kiryl Kazachok and all those on death row in Belarus;

-- Calling on the President to establish an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;

-- Stress that whilst we are not seeking to downplay the seriousness of the crime, research shows that the death penalty does not deter crime more than other forms of imprisonment and is the ultimate denial of human rights.

Contact these 2 officials by 24 February, 2017:

President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka
Vul. Karla Marksa 38
220016 Minsk, Belarus
Fax: +375 17 226 06 10
+375 17 222 38 72
Email: contact@president.gov.by
Salutation: Dear President Lukashenka

Chargé d'Affaires
Mr. Pavel Shidlovsky
Embassy of Belarus
1619 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington DC 20009
Fax: 1 202 986 1805
Phone: 1 202 986 1606 -OR- 1 202 986 9420
Email: usa@mfa.gov.by
Salutation: Dear Mr. Shidlovsky

Source: Amnesty International USA, January 14, 2017


Belarus: Yet Another Death Sentence


“Yet, another death sentence was handed down this week in Belarus, to Mr Kiryl Kazachok. This sentence, which follows the execution of four persons earlier this year, goes against the commitments made by Belarusian authorities to consider the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty”, – says spokesperson statement on the European External Action Service (EEAS), reacting on the sentencing of Kazachok, convicted for murder of his own children Kira (9) and Vlad (17). After committing the crime, Kazachok went to his former spouse and confessed to her. According to the prosecution the double murder was meant as a revenge to the mother of the children, who intended to divorce Kazachok.

“The European Union opposes capital punishment in all cases. It fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity. We call on Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition” – continues the text of the EEAS statement.

“Steps taken by Belarus to respect universal fundamental freedoms, rule of law and human rights, including on the death penalty, will remain key for the shaping of the EU’s future policy towards”.

Today Belarus remains the only European country with the capital punishment. During the last 20 years around 400 convicts were executed, and only one of them received the clemency of the President. According to Belarus authorities the number of citizens favorable to abolish death penalty has increased, however they are far from being a majority.

Source: Brussels Diplomatic, December 29, 2917


E.U. reacts to new death sentence in Belarus


Statement by the Spokesperson on a death sentence in Belarus

Yet another death sentence was handed down this week in Belarus, to Mr Kiryl Kazachok.

This sentence, which follows the execution of four persons earlier this year, goes against the commitments made by Belarusian authorities to consider the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty.

The European Union opposes capital punishment in all cases. It fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity. We call on Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.

Steps taken by Belarus to respect universal fundamental freedoms, rule of law and human rights, including on the death penalty, will remain key for the shaping of the EU's future policy towards Belarus.

Source: European Union, External Action, December 29, 2016

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