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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…

Saudi Arabia celebrates end of Ramadan by carrying out six executions in one day

Saudi Arabia: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Saudi Arabia: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Saudi Arabia executes six for drug trafficking, homicide

A Pakistani citizen was executed for drug trafficking and five Saudi nationals for homicide.

Six people convicted of drug trafficking and homicide were executed in Saudi Arabia on Monday, the government said, the highest number of executions in a single day this year.

A Pakistani citizen was executed for drug trafficking and five Saudi nationals for homicide, the interior ministry said.

Monday's executions bring to 44 the number of convicts put to death this year, according to an AFP tally of government statements.

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has one of the world's highest rates of execution, with suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking facing the death penalty.

The kingdom is governed under a strict form of Islamic law.

Saudi Arabia reported 153 people executed last year, a number confirmed by London-based rights group Amnesty International.

A June report by human rights organisation Reprieve found that 41 per cent of those executed in Saudi Arabia in 2017 were killed for non-violent acts such as attending political protests.

The group said it was concerned migrant workers in the country were being tricked into smuggling drugs and then executed.

At least 23 per cent of death sentences for drug offences in the oil-rich country are Pakistanis, according to analysis by Reprieve.

In May 2017 – following a visit from President Donald Trump – a Saudi criminal court upheld several death sentences handed down to protestors, including disabled man Munir Adam.

UN experts have called for an end to executions for non-violent offences, but authorities claim the death penalty acts as a useful deterrent to criminals.

In 2016, Ridyadh claimed the execution of a royal, Prince Turki Bin Saud Al-Kabir showed it cared about "security, justice and safety for all".

The most common form of execution in the kingdom, which enforces ultra-conservative Islamic laws, are beheadings with a sword.

Sources: Agence France-Presse, independent.co.uk, July 11, 2017.

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