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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…

UK: Queen to meet Bahrain King, despite executions and torture

The Queen and the King of Bahrain at last year's Royal Windsor Horse Show
The Queen and the King of Bahrain at last year's Royal Windsor Horse Show.
The Queen is to sit alongside the King of Bahrain at the Royal Windsor Horse Show tomorrow – despite the Kingdom’s recent lifting of a moratorium on the death penalty, and a surge in executions of protestors.

According to reports, King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa will ‘host’ the Queen and 19 other VIPs at the annual Windsor Horse Show, in a special ‘Kingdom of Bahrain Lounge’.

The royal meeting will take place amid a crackdown on political dissent in the Kingdom. 

The Bahraini authorities recently resumed executions after a 6-year moratorium, executing three political protesters who had been sentenced to death on the strength of forced ‘confessions’. At least two more protesters could be executed at any time.

International human rights group Reprieve has found that the British government has given substantial support to Bahrain’s criminal justice system, despite human rights concerns. The UK support includes the training of hundreds of guards on Bahrain’s death row, where torture of political prisoners is rife.

Commenting, Director of Reprieve Maya Foa said:

“Make no mistake – visits like this gift the Bahraini government a royal cloak of acceptability, while the Kingdom mercilessly executes political prisoners and uses torture to extract ‘confessions’. Theresa May wants stronger UK-Gulf relations, but we must not help the Bahrainis to whitewash their appalling abuses. Instead of drafting in the Queen to cosy up to King Hamad, the UK must urgently protest Bahrain’s use of torture and executions to silence opponents.”

 The UK Foreign Office has spent over £5 million in aid money on reforming Bahrain’s human rights record since protests swept the Gulf kingdom in 2011. More information on the UK’s support for Bahrain’s prison system is available at the Reprieve website, here.

Source: Reprieve, May 11, 2017. Reprieve is an international human rights organization.

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