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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…

Mauritania cracking down on apostasy with mandatory death sentence

Mauritania
There will no longer be mercy for those convicted of apostasy in Mauritania.

Previously, any Mauritanian who committed blasphemy or left the Muslim faith had 3 days to repent before they were punished. Penalties included prison terms or a death sentence.

However, a new law was passed on April 27th by the Mauritanian National Assembly. Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs explains, "This new law sort of becomes more stringent - that 3 days to repent disappears. Everyone is going to be punished. Even if you do repent, you are still going to be punished. And in the case of blasphemous remarks or sacrilegious acts, according to the law, the death penalty is now mandatory.

"The other thing that was very fascinating to me is, in explaining this change in the law, the Minister of Defense said that 'what we had before was actually in contradiction with official Sharia code, the official Sharia law. We want to be as close to the real Sharia law as possible, so we needed to eliminate that discrepancy between the 2.'"

Mauritania is a Muslim nation and while no Christian has been given a death sentence yet, this law is especially concerning for new converts. A mandatory death sentence for apostasy could cause someone who is considering following Jesus to think twice.

Even though the CIA World Factbook reports that Mauritania is officially 100 % Muslim, there is an underground Church presence. The Holy Spirit cannot be stopped at the Mauritania borders, and Mauritanian believers are living out their faith in secret. One of their biggest needs is fellowship.

"What often happens to someone who comes to faith in Christ is they are cut off. They are cut off from their Muslim friends. They are cut off even from their families. So having fellowship with other believers, having a way to be encouraged and to be discipled, those are challenging things in a country where there are so few Christians."

Source: mnnonline.org, June 7, 2018


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