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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…

Indonesia: Police investigate reports of blasphemy in poem

Police investigate reports of blasphemy in Sukmawati’s poem

The National Police are investigating reports of blasphemy allegedly committed by Sukmawati Soekarnoputri, an official confirmed on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Insp.Gen.Setyo Wasisto said two reports of blasphemy implicating the daughter of founding father Sukarno had been filed with the Jakarta Police and the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim).

“Our responsibility is to carry out an investigation. We have to first gather evidence and then follow up,” Setyo said as quoted by kompas.com.   

He said that during the pre-investigation process, the police would collect evidence and question witnesses.

He further said the police would also consider settling the case out of court.  

Sukmawati has been accused of insulting Islam after reading her poem titled Ibu Indonesia (Mother Indonesia) during Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW) in Jakarta last Thursday.

“I don’t know sharia [Islamic law], but I know the konde [traditional bun] of Mother Indonesia is so beautiful, more beautiful than your niqab. I don’t know sharia, but I know that the ballad of Indonesian mothers is so beautiful, more melodious than your adzan,” the poem reads.

The poem triggered outrage from various groups. Lawyer Denny Andrian Kusdayat, Hanura Party politician Amron Asyhari and the East Java chapter of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), have filed criminal reports against Sukmawati.

The United Islam Forum (FUIB) has also reported Sukmawati to the Jakarta Police and will file a similar report with Bareskrim.

Sukmawati is accused of committing blasphemy under Article 156a of the Criminal Code (KUHP) and hate speech, which violates Article 16 of Law No. 40/2008 on the elimination of sentiments against tribal affiliation, religion, race and societal groups (SARA).

Source: The Jakarta Post, Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, April 4, 2018


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