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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…

British dad spends 1,000th day on Ethiopia’s death row

Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege and his family
Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege and his family
A father-of-three from London has now spent 1,000 days on Ethiopia’s death row, after the country’s security forces kidnapped and rendered him there in June 2014.

Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege, a vocal critic of Ethiopia’s ruling party, disappeared while transiting through an international airport almost three years ago.

Ethiopian officials later admitted to having illegally ‘rendered’ him to a secret prison, in a process which British diplomats privately deemed “completely unacceptable”.

Mr Tsege is being held unlawfully under a death sentence that was handed down in absentia, when he lived in North London with his partner and their three young children.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has failed to secure Mr Tsege’s return to the UK, despite visiting Ethiopia for the first time as recently as last week.

Mr Johnson claimed on Friday (17th) to have secured progress on the case, saying that Mr Tsege has been promised regular access to a lawyer.

However, the UK government’s focus on legal access for Mr Tsege has caused dismay among MPs from across the political spectrum.

A former Attorney-General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Lord Chancellor have all warned that: “The British Government’s emphasis on securing Mr Tsege a lawyer ignores statements by the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister confirming that ‘there is no appeal process’ available to Mr Tsege.”

Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said:

“It is appalling that Andy Tsege is spending his 1,000th day on death row in Ethiopia, just days after Boris Johnson missed a vital chance to seek his return to the UK. It’s clear there is no justice for Andy in the compromised Ethiopian court system, and it’s hard to see how a lawyer can help him when the Ethiopians have said he has no way of appealing his death sentence. It’s time for the UK Government to bring this British father home.”

On Monday (20th) at 2.30pm, Mr Tsege's partner and children will go to the Foreign Office to hand in a petition calling on Boris Johnson to secure his return to the UK.

➤ Further detail on Mr Tsege’s case can be found on the Reprieve website, here.

Source: Reprieve, March 19, 2017

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