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

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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…

Iran: Secret and Unannounced Executions in 2017

Iran: Secret and unannounced executions
IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

With an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per 167.000 inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.

Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities. This is significantly higher than in 2016 when 298 of 533 executions were not announced by official sources. 

Some of these executions were carried out secretly, without the family or the lawyer being informed, and some have simply not been announced by the official media. 

Only unofficial reports with a sufficient amount of information have been included in this report. 

The actual numbers are believed to be much higher. In 2017, IHR received reports of secret or unannounced executions from 31 different locations across the country.

Documentation of unannounced executions


IHR’s network inside the country received information about many executions which are not announced by the official media. 

Confirming these reports is a challenging task as the media is either directly controlled or under strong scrutiny by the authorities. Reporting human rights violations to human rights organizations is regarded as a crime and the people involved face criminal charges. 

Despite this, every year IHR manages to confirm several hundred cases of executions which are not announced by the authorities. In many cases, information about executions is verified by two or more independent sources. 

In some cases, IHR receives pictures which can document the execution. In many cases, pictures, along with the names of the prisoners, were sent to IHR. Some of these pictures are shown at the top of this page.


Geographic distribution of announced and unannounced/secret executions


As in previous years, the big prisons in the Karaj/Tehran area were the sites of the highest number of both officially announced and unannounced executions. More details are provided in the following section.

This diagram shows the official (green) and unofficial/unannounced (yellow) executions in the three prisons of Karaj (Alborz province) which house prisoners from the provinces of Tehran and Alborz. 

However, there are also prisoners from the rest of the country in these prisons. These include the prisons of Ghezelhesar, Rajaishahr and the Central Prison of Karaj (also called Nedamatgah). 

All three prisons are located in Alborz Province. Prisoners at Ghezelhesar prison and Nedamatgah are mainly convicted of drug offences while in Rajaishahr the largest number belongs to those convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas

Most of the executions carried out in the abovementioned prisons in 2017 were not announced by official sources.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT IN PDF

Source: Iran Human Rights, March 16, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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