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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…

Gaza: Hamas sentences 2 drug smugglers to death by firing squad

Tunnel between Gaza and Egypt
Tunnel between Gaza and Egypt
The accused were convicted earlier this year of smuggling tramadol, marijuana, and opium from Egypt via tunnels.

A military court in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday sentenced 2 Palestinian men, identified by their initials only, to execution by firing squad.

The 2 men were sentenced to death in March after they were convicted of smuggling tramadol, marijuana, opium from Egypt via tunnels.

However, at that time the means of their execution was not specified.

The military court also sentenced 9 others to between 5 and 20 years in prison for involvement in drug dealing.

Hamas is routinely condemned by human rights organisations and foreign governments for its use of the death penalty.

Statistics compiled by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights state that at least 22 death sentences have been carried out in the besieged Gaza Strip since the Hamas movement won elections in 2006 and took unfettered control of the Strip following internecine fighting with Fatah militants in 2007.

After Hamas appointed Yahya Sinwar as its new Gaza-based political chief in February, many predicted that death penalties would increase under his rule.

Sinwar is notorious for being Hamas' "spy master" and for his militant background.

In 1988, Sinwar instigated an operation which resulted in the abduction and killing of 2 Israeli soldiers.

His brother, Mohammed Sinwar, is the leader of the al-Qassam brigades - the Hamas military wing which captured Israeli soldier Corporal Gilat Shalit in 2006.

Shalit was later released in a prisoner swap in 2011.

In April, the Hamas government executed three suspected "Israel collaborators" by hanging after the killing of Mazen Fuqaha, a senior Hamas militant commander.

Under Palestinian law, death sentences are not illegal, but all death sentences must be ratified by the Palestinian president before being carried out.

However, the Hamas government in Gaza has carried out executions periodically without receiving approval from PA President Mahmoud Abbas, whose rival - and internationally recognised - administration is based in Ramallah in the central West Bank.

Source: alarby.co.uk, May 12, 2017

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