Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

'Barbie doll' plane bomb terrorists could face death sentences in Lebanon

Etihad plane
Two Australian citizens in custody in Sydney are among 5 men facing the death penalty in Lebanon for their part in a planned airplane bombing last year.

Senior Lebanon military court judge Alaa Khatib has recommended the 5 men face death by firing squad for their part in the alleged terror plot, The Australian reports.

The attack would have seen the plotters detonate bombs hidden in a Barbie doll and a meat grinder on an Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi on July 15 last year, killing 400 passengers and crew.

Amer Khayat, who is a dual dual Australian-Lebanese citizen, is the only 1 of the 5 in jail in Lebanon and would be the 1st to face the firing squad. The others, including the 2 men in custody in Sydney, will be trialled in absentia.

Lebanese authorities detained Sydney man Khayat last July after learning he had visited Tripoli multiple times to get married, only to get divorced a short time after.

During questioning Khayat allegedly revealed his attempt to smuggle explosives aboard the flight.

The plan was thwarted after hand luggage containing the devices was found to be overweight at check-in and left at the counter.

The bag is believed to have contained a self-timed bomb, hidden inside a doll.

That bomb upon detonation would have detonated another bomb hidden inside the grinder, stored in a 2nd carry-on bag.

Lebanese authorities notified Australian authorities of their findings, prompting a series of raids across Sydney late in July.

Amer's brothers Khaled and Mahmout were subsequently arrested and charged with 2 counts of planning a terrorist attack.

A 3rd brother Tareq, an ISIS commander, is in hiding in Syria. The 5th accused - a relative of the Khayats based in Sydney - was investigated by police, but no evidence was found to support suspicions he took part in the plot.

All 5 men stand accused by Lebanese authorities of participating in terrorist activities, being part of a terrorist group and scheming to commit mass murder.

Source: 9news.com.au, March 24, 2018

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