Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Iran: Three Hand Amputations, Four Hangings Carried Out in Qom

NCRI - The Iranian regime's deputy prosecutor in the city of Qom, announced that the hands of three person accused of theft were amputated and at the same time four others accused of drug related crimes were executed in Qom central prison.
According to Iranian regime's radio and television news agency on September 21, deputy prosecutor called Younes Davoudi officially announced the above mentioned punishments.
It is noteworthy than in the month of June, two young men in Tehran accused of theft were sentenced by the 11th Branch of Tehran Province criminal court to have their fingers amputated.
“I was forced to resort to stealing to come up with money for my wife’s chemotherapy,” one of the accused said.
The defendants are Taghi, 30, and Parviz, 31, by their first names.
The state-run Rokna news agency interviewed one of the defendants whose wife is suffering from cancer:
Q: How many counts do you have?
A: Four counts of theft
Q: Why did you steal?
A: I didn’t have any money to…

Iran: Three executions carried out, two in front of large crowds

A man was hanged in public as a large crowd of people, including children, watched.
Iran Human Rights (SEPT 21 2017): A man by the name of Ismael Rangerz was hanged in public in the city of Parsabad (Ardabil province) on murder and rape charges.
According to various state-run news agencies, the public execution was carried out on Wednesday September 20 in front of a large crowd of people, including children.
The judicial process for the prisoner lasted for a total of three months before his execution was carried out. 
Iran Human Rights is concerned that Ismael Rangers did not receive a fair trial.
The research of Iran Human Rights shows 33 people were hanged in public in Iran in 2016 and an audience of hundreds of people, including children, were present for most of these hangings. 
Human rights activists and informed members of civil society have always severely criticized this issue.

An unidentified man was hanged in public on murder charges Iran Human Rights (SEPT 21 2017): An u…

Two Myanmar migrants make final appeal in Koh Tao murder case

Thailand's Supreme Court accepted the final appeal by Thai lawyers representing Myanmar migrants Win Zaw Tun and Zaw Linn, who have been sentenced to death for the murder of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on Koh Tao island in Thailand.
The final appeal, which is 319 pages long, was submitted to the court on August 21 by the Thailand Lawyers Council.
In its appeal, the council pointed to evidence that Win and Zaw had been denied justice and fairness throughout the case and are innocent despite the death sentence, according to Myanmar embassy special representative U Aung Myo Thant, who is also a lawyer working on the case with the council.
He said they pointed out that Thai police violated standard police procedure in the collection of DNA evidence and phone records. The council said the police failed to carry out proper procedures in searching for DNA evidence, and they forced the two migrants to admit to the murder.
“We have submitted throughout this whole p…

Malaysia: ‘Death penalty not an option’ in school fire that killed 21 students

A fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school resulted in the deaths of 21 students and two teachers
PETALING JAYA: The seven youths held over the tahfiz fire last Thursday cannot face the death penalty as they are underage, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
Responding to the chorus of calls from parents of the victims and the public for the youths to be charged as adults and given the death penalty, the de-facto Law Minister said the teenagers would be tried in accordance with laws such as Section 97(1) of the Child Act 2001.
She said even if they were found guilty of murder, their punishments would be under Section 91(1) of the Act which include whipping, fines or detention at an approved school.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun also said that the parents of the youths would not be charged as they had nothing to do with the case.
Azalina said the incident should be used as a lesson for all parties, especially parent…

Gambia: President Barrow Signs Abolition Of Death Penalty Treaty

(JollofNews) – A few hours after delivering his maiden speech at the United Nations’ General Assembly, New York, President Adama Barrow of the Gambia has signed a treaty for the abolition of the death penalty as part of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The president also signed the treaty on the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
“By signing of the treaties, the New Gambia continues to promote democracy and show the commitment of the state to protect lives of political activists,” a communique from the president’s office stated.
“This will remove fear and promote rule of law for citizens to express their civil and politica…

When racism lurks in the heart of a death penalty juror, does a killer deserve to live?

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” This single, sinister question, asked over a sepulchral-sounding musical score, was rhetorical; for after a dramatic pause and a malevolent cackle, the narrator smugly informed the audience: “The Shadow knows.”
And so it was with this somber admonition on September 26, 1937, that the gritty, crime-fighting character dubbed “The Shadow,” whose exploits had previously been limited to pulp fiction magazines, burst into American consciousness with his own radio program. The uber-successful first episode called “The Death House Rescue” would lead to a run of 664 more installments over 18 seasons.
Exactly 80 years later another story about a scheduled execution, this time one that is all too real, is playing out; but, unlike that first episode of “The Shadow,” there is little chance of a tidy and fair resolution (much less “a death house rescue”). Indeed, absent an unlikely intervention, the state of Georgia will execute death row inmate Ke…

Arkansas judge: State must disclose execution drug details

Arkansas' intent to shield much of its execution procedure from public view took another hit Tuesday when a 2nd judge ruled that the state's prison system must disclose labels that will identify the manufacturer of a lethal injection drug.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce told the Arkansas Department of Correction to give lawyer Steven Shults unredacted package inserts for recently acquired midazolam by Sept. 28. He said Arkansas' legislators had an opportunity to grant pharmaceutical companies secrecy in a 2015 execution law, but didn't.
"They know what manufacturers are," Pierce said. "They knew what the issues were. They left out a key word not once, but twice and maybe 3 times."
In April, Shults won a similar case concerning information about potassium chloride, another execution drug. The case is being appealed to the state Supreme Court, and Arkansas also plans to appeal Pierce's ruling.
As its previous midazolam supply approache…

Judge: Inmate drug reaction wasn't enough to stop Ohio execution

Descriptions of the repeated rising and falling of an inmate's stomach weren't enough to stop his execution under current legal precedent governing lethal injection in Ohio, a federal judge said in explaining his decision not to intervene.
It was also likely too late to act by the time attorneys for inmate Gary Otte reached him by phone during the execution on Sept. 13, Judge Michael Merz said in a ruling on Saturday.
The description of Otte's reaction to the 1st execution drug was not enough to show he "was experiencing unconstitutionally severe pain," the judge said in a 5-page ruling.
Otte, 45, was put to death for the 1992 murders of 2 people during robberies over 2 days in suburban Cleveland.
After the 1st drug was administered - the sedative midazolam - Otte's stomach rose and fell repeatedly over the next couple of minutes. It was similar to the rising and falling of inmates' stomachs and chests seen in past executions using a different drug, thoug…

India: PIL asks Supreme Court abolish hanging as death penalty, bring in shooting or lethal injection

A petition in the Supreme Court has asked the court to do away with the practice of hanging death row convicts. The petition suggests that methods such as shooting or lethal injection be used instead.
The dormant debate on doing away with the practice of hanging death row convicts has revived momentum thanks to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court. 
Petitioner Rishi Malhotra, a Supreme Court advocate, has sought abolition of the present practice of hanging and suggested alternative methods such as intravenous lethal injection or shooting.
Holding that hanging involved prolonged pain and suffering compared to the other two suggested procedures, Malhotra quoted earlier judgments of the Supreme Court and recommendations of the Law Commission to bolster his case.
The petition said in Gian Kaur vs State of Punjab (1996), the Supreme Court had held that "the right to life, including the right to live with human dignity, would mean the existence of such a right …

Iran: Increased Public Executions on the Eve of Moslem Holy Month to Intimidate People

Trying to prevent the public protests by intensifying the atmosphere of terror and intimidation in the society on the eve of the Islamic holy month of Muharram, Iranian regime has increased the public executions in various streets and prisons of the country.
Just between September 12 and 20, five prisoners, including a 27-year-old youth in Islamabad, another prisoner in Anbarabad city in Kerman province, (September 12), a prisoner in Modarres Blvd in Ilam (September 17), a prisoner at the the Salmas municipality square (September 14), as well as another prisoner in Pars Abad, Moghan, in Ardebil province, were hanged in front of the public eyes.
Meanwhile, six prisoners were hanged in the prisons of Ardebil, Boroujerd, Khorramabad, Mashad and Zanjan on September 18 and 18. A female prisoner was among the executed on September 18. 
On September 19, a 23-year-old man was executed while he was sentenced to three years in prison for robbery, but was sentenced to death in a new pumped up ch…