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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…

Hamas sentences 3 Israeli agents to death over Gaza assassination

Hamas troops in Gaza City
Hamas troops in Gaza City
Gaza's ruling Hamas movement delivered death sentences on Sunday to 3 Palestinians it ruled had taken part in what it said was an Israeli-directed assassination of 1 of the group's senior commanders.

A Hamas security court said the three men had confessed to the killing of Mazen Fuqaha, a Hamas military wing commander, who was shot in the head and the chest in his car on March 24 near his Gaza home.

"The field court has sentenced the 3 convicted of carrying out the crime of the assassination of martyr Mazen Fuqaha to death," said Brigadier-General Naser Suleiman, chairman of the Hamas-run military judiciary.

Hamas convicted all 3, aged 44, 38 and 38, of collaborating with Israel. It said that 1 of the men carried out the actual shooting and the other 2 had provided Israeli security agencies with information about Fuqaha's whereabouts.

Israel's Shin Bet security service, which carries out covert operations against Palestinian militants, did not respond to a request by Reuters for comment on Hamas's allegations.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in an interview with Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper soon after the killing, attributed the death to an internal power dispute in Hamas.

Israel jailed Fuqaha in 2003 for planning attacks against Israelis and sentenced him to 9 life terms. He was released in 2011, as part of a group of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners whom Israel freed in exchange for a captive soldier.

Israeli media said that after Fuqaha's release and exile to Gaza that he continued to plan attacks by Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank.

Over the years, Israel has established a network of contacts in the Palestinian territories, using a combination of pressure and sweeteners to entice Palestinians to divulge intelligence.

Palestinian and International Human Rights groups have repeatedly condemned the death penalty, and urged Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to suspend it. Palestinian law says President Mahmoud Abbas, who has no actual control over Gaza, has the final word on whether executions can be carried out.

Hamas has sentenced 109 people to death and executed more than 20 of them under its judicial system since 2007, when the group seized power from Abbas in a brief civil war.

Source: Middle East Monitor, May 21, 2017

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