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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…

Jokowi and Hollande did not discuss death penalty: Foreign Minister

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and French President François Hollande
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and French President François Hollande
During a meeting on Wednesday President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and French President Francois Hollande apparently failed to discuss Indonesia’s controversial policy on the death penalty that France has repeatedly criticized.

France had several times requested Indonesia halt the plan to execute one of its citizens, Serge Atlaoui, who was put on death row after being convicted of drug charges, warning that the relationship between the two countries could suffer if it went ahead.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi, who accompanied Jokowi during the meeting, said that the two leaders discussed ways to improve bilateral ties between Indonesia and France, but none of the topics were related to Serge’s fate or Indonesia’s death penalty.

“There was no [such topic discussed],” Retno said at the State Palace.

Hollande was in Jakarta for a one-day state visit as part of a week-long Southeast Asian trip. He arrived in Jakarta after earlier visiting Singapore and Malaysia.

Serge Atlaoui, 51, was arrested near Jakarta in 2005 in a secret laboratory producing ecstasy and sentenced to death two years later.

Imprisoned in Indonesia for a decade, the father-of-four has always denied the charges, saying he was installing industrial machinery in what he thought was an acrylics factory.

Despite international and domestic condemnation, the Jokowi administration has carried out three rounds of executions since the President took office in late 2014.

In January 2015, six convicts were executed, while another eight were executed in April 2015. 

The most recent round of executions was in July 2016, when four convicts were shot dead.

Source. The Jakarta Post, Haeril Halim, March 30, 2017



Death penalty meets fresh resistance


A discussion on the dilemma of the death penalty at the Islamic College Sadra on Monday saw another heated debate surrounding the inclusion of capital punishment in Indonesia's legal system with a number of academics and experts offering different opinions.

Franz Magnis Suseno from the philosophy college of STF Driyakarya said that the death penalty had failed to reduce the crime rate in the country.

"The death penalty does not have a deterrent effect, since we can see that the number of crimes such as drug trafficking is still very high," he said.

Franz added that human beings "do not have the right" to end someone's life, adding that punishment should not be understood as an act of revenge.

Ammar Fauzi from the Islamic College Sadra, however, argued that the death penalty was about "upholding justice."

However, according to him, the most important thing for the government was to create a fair justice system.

Hertasning Ichlas from Universalia Legal Aid (YLBHU) also questioned the implementation of the death penalty, saying it was still "discriminatory." He said that most of the convicts on death row were not "the big fish" or key actors in their criminal networks.

He suggested that it was better for all stakeholders to focus on fixing problems and reforming the country's justice system than to prolong debates over the death penalty.

Source: The Jakarta Post, March 28, 2017

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