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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…

Death penalty, religious intolerance focus at Indonesia's UN rights review

Executions for drug crimes, rising religious intolerance, and the repression of activists and journalists in Papua were some major criticisms lodged against Indonesia's human rights record at the nation's Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on Wednesday.

The delegations from around 100 countries lined up to comment on the condition of human rights in Indonesia, with a slew of states from Europe, Africa and the Americas recommending that Indonesia re-impose a moratorium on the death penalty and steps towards the elimination of capital punishment.

The United Nations Human Rights Council conducts the UPR for each member state every 5 years, providing an opportunity for other nations to analyse progress and highlight concerns.

While states parties applauded Indonesia's progress in pursuing the protection of rights for some vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with disabilities, Indonesia's high-level delegation was faced with widespread calls to better protect religious and LGBT minority groups.


Indonesia staunchly defends executions


Long a diplomatic sticking point with nations around the globe, Indonesia came under heavy criticism from dozens of countries for its continued use of capital punishment for people convicted of drug offences.

Indonesian Justice and Human Rights Minister Yassona Laoly pushed back against the criticism, stating that continuing to implement the death penalty was important for addressing the nation's drug problems.

"Each day 33 persons ... die because of drug abuse," he said. "If you are a family member of the drugs victims, surely you will understand."

Yassona continued that "the rights of the offender must always be weighed against the rights of the victims," but that without strict punishments to contain drug use, "the future of the nation will become bleak."

"As a democratic country, public discourse on the implementation of the death penalty is ongoing in Indonesia," he said.

Source: asiancorrespondent.com, May 4, 2017

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