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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…

International rights groups express concerns following Ahok verdict

A number of international organizations have expressed concern about the state of human rights in Indonesia following the guilty verdict and two-year jail term handed down to Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy on Tuesday.

The European Union Delegation to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, for instance, has issued a statement calling on the Indonesian government and people to continue their country's long-standing tradition of tolerance and pluralism.

“Indonesia and the EU have agreed to promote and protect the rights […] such as the freedom of thought, conscience and religion and freedom of expression,” it stated.

“The EU has consistently stated that laws that criminalize blasphemy when applied in a discriminatory manner can have a serious inhibiting effect on freedom of expression and on freedom of religion or belief.”

Similarly, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) also expressed concern, stating that the verdict could put Indonesia’s position as a regional leader “in jeopardy and raises concerns about Indonesia’s future as an open, tolerant, diverse society,” said Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian parliament and APHR chair.

The APHR said the ruling could embolden religious hard-liners and called into further question Indonesia’s harsh blasphemy law.

Amnesty International has also said the verdict could tarnish Indonesia’s reputation as a tolerant nation.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Bagus Saragih, May 9, 2017

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