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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…

Julian McMahon and Paris Aristotle honoured for defence of human rights

Julian McMahon and Paris Aristotle with self-portraits by Myuran Sukumaran
Julian McMahon and Paris Aristotle with self-portraits by Myuran Sukumaran
Barrister who works pro bono for people on death row and refugee advocate among those recognised in Queen’s birthday list

The abolitionist lawyer Julian McMahon and the refugee advocate Paris Aristotle have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours list.

Julian McMahon, a Melbourne barrister, has been appointed a companion of the Order of Australia for his dedication to defending human rights, in particular advocating for defendants facing the death penalty.

The president of Reprieve Australia since 2015, McMahon has worked pro bono for death-row defendants including: Van Tuong Nguyen, hanged in Singapore in 2005; George Forbes, wrongly accused, then exonerated of murder in Sudan in 2007; and the Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were executed by firing squad in Indonesia in 2015.

His work has raised public awareness globally of the death penalty, as more and more countries abolish capital punishment.

In the wake of Chan and Sukumaran’s executions, McMahon said the killing of Australian citizens overseas for non-violent drug offences had solidified public opposition in Australia to capital punishment.

“I think it’s been a developing idea basically since the execution of Van Nguyen, which many people rightly thought was an appalling outcome,” McMahon told Fairfax Media.

➤ Click here to read the full article

Source: The Guardian, Ben Doherty, June 11, 2017

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