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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…

Amnesty: Tunisia not doing enough to abolish death penalty

Tunis
Tunisia has failed to take steps to abolish its law on the death penalty, Amnesty International said in its latest report.

Since the early 1990s, no death sentences have been carried out in Tunisia but the death penalty still exists in the country. At the end of last year, 77 people were on death row in Tunisian prisons and 25 Tunisian courts handed down death sentences in connection with national security crimes, an increase from 44 in 2016.

According to a poll by the 3C Studies Institute, 70 per cent of Tunisians are in favour of the death penalty. Moreover, the new anti-terrorism law, passed in July 2015, has maintained the death penalty despite calls to abolish it.

Since independence, Tunisia has completed 135 executions.

Amnesty also deplored the fact that the measure of death sentences in Algeria has not been properly recorded due to authorities not making official data public. Amnesty recorded 27 death sentences in Algeria last year, less than the 50 recorded in 2016.

In Morocco and the Western Sahara, 15 death sentences were handed out in 2017, compared to at least 6 in 2016.

According to the NGO, the use of the death penalty in the Middle East and North Africa region decreased slightly in 2017 and the number of executions recorded decreased by 1 %, from 856 executions in 2016 to 847 in 2017.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq carried out the largest number of executions in the region and account for 92 % of recorded executions in the MENA region. However Egypt was guilty of handing out the most convictions in the region during 2017. Of the 619 convictions of capital punishment recorded by the group, 402 were from Egypt – an increase of about 70 % compared to 2016.

By the end of 2017, 106 countries abolished the death penalty in their legislation.

Source: Middle East Monitor, April 12, 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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