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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…

Jordan executes 15 people, including 10 on terrorism charges

Country restored capital punishment by hanging in 2014 after eight year moratorium

Jordan executed 15 people on Saturday, including 10 convicted on terrorism charges, government spokesman Mohammad al Momani said.

Momani said those executed included one man who was convicted of an attack last year on an intelligence compound that killed five security personnel.

Another five were involved in an assault by security forces on a militant hideout in Irbid city in the same year that led to the death of seven militants and one police officer, while the rest related to separate incidents that go back as far as 2003.

The five other executions were for rape and sexual assault.

Jordan restored the death sentence by hanging in 2014 after a moratorium on capital punishment between 2006 and 2014.

The executed included those convicted for the attacks on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad in 2003, on tourists at the Roman amphitheatre in the capital Amman in 2006, on intelligence officers in the Baqaa refugee camp in 2016, and the killing of writer Nahid Hattar, also last year, Mr Momani told the Petra news agency.

King Abdullah II had said in 2005 that Jordan aimed to become the first Middle Eastern country to halt executions in line with most European countries.

Courts continued to hand down death sentences but they were not carried out.

But public opinion blamed a rise in crime on the policy and in December 2014 Jordan hanged 11 men convicted of murder, drawing criticism from human rights groups.

Opinion hardened after the murder by the Islamic State group of captured Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh whose plane had crashed in a jihadist-held region of Syria in December 2014 while serving with a US-led coalition.

Grisly footage posted in February the following year of him being burnt alive in a cage outraged the public.

Swiftly afterwards, Jordan hanged two people convicted of terrorism offences, one of them Sajida al-Rishawi.

She had taken part in a 2005 suicide attack on luxury hotels in Amman organised by IS's forebear, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but her explosives failed to detonate.

Sources: The Guardian, BBC News, Agence France-Presse, Reuters, March 4, 2017

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