We are pleased to attach the latest death penalty report for Mid February – March 2023 thanks to group member Lesley for the work in preparing it. The desire for the newly appointed deputy chair of the Conservative Party, Lee Anderson MP, for the reinstatement of the penalty in the UK is unwelcome.
Man with intellectual disability to be executed in Missouri
Saudi Arabia is not the only country to flout international law when it comes to the death penalty. The same is true in the US when it comes to executing people with intellectual disabilities.
Ernest Johnson faces execution on 5 October 2021. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1995 for the 1994 murders of three employees of a convenience store in Missouri. A jury sentenced him to death despite a claim of intellectual disability in violation to international law. Johnson had surgery in 2008 to remove a brain tumour which has left him with seizures. Medical experts testified that the lethal injection drugs may trigger violent and painful seizures. State and federal courts have denied his claims for relief. We urge Governor Parson to halt the execution and commute his sentence.
If you would like to join the local group you would be very welcome. Keep and eye on this site and on Facebook and Twitter for details of activities and come along and make yourself known. It is free to join the local group.
The trial of Reggie Clemons in Missouri has been delayed yet again until January. This has come about because the defense has claimed that Reggie’s phone calls and visitor logs have been accessed by the Attorney General’s office since March 2016. They claim that at least three of these calls to his lawyers and may have revealed names of expert witnesses to called to testify at his trial. The Attorney General office deny these claims and said that Clemons had waived his attorney client privilege.
He has been in prison now for 22 years and the trial had been set for August.
The group sent a card to Reggie in anticipation of the trial taking place in August.
My family and I wish to thank the Missouri Supreme Court for vacating our son Reginald Clemons’ convictions and sentences and remanding his case. I want to thank the Court for pursuing the path of due process in our son’s case and for the appointment of Judge Michael Manners as Special Master, and for the additional work done by Judge Lisa White Hardwick from the Missouri Court of Appeals sitting as a Special Judge of the Court. Our faith and confidence has been renewed in our judicial system.
We are delighted to report the good news concerning Reggie. All of those who have worked tirelessly for justice on behalf of Reggie Clemons are simply thrilled by today’s opinion (24th November). Today the Missouri Supreme Court has upheld Mr. Clemons’s constitutional right to a fair trial, which is all he has sought from the beginning. Campaigners said they were deeply grateful for the Court’s decision, and its willingness to protect the Due Process rights of Mr. Clemons and citizens everywhere.
The Salisbury group has campaigned on behalf of Reggie for several years now and only last week, we sent him some cards in prison. This is excellent news and shows that persistent campaigning can be successful.
This is the monthly report on the state of death penalty around the world, thanks to Lesley for compiling it.
The news that Ray Hilton has been released after 28 years on death row is both heartening and shocking. That the state of Alabama should have so badly conducted his trial and then refused to allow the fresh ballistic evidence to be heard, which was the only evidence against him, is particularly shocking. There can be few better examples of the dangers of this penalty than a case such as this.
Tennessee – are reported to be considering bringing back the electric chair in the light of the recent difficulties with the use of lethal injections
Wyoming – are reported to be considering using a firing squad
New Hampshire – disappointingly, the second attempt at the repeal of the death penalty was defeated in the Senate on 22nd May. The death sentence remains.
Missouri – a stay of execution was granted for Russell Bucklew on 22nd May following his claim that a congenital illness would probably cause additional suffering under the current regime of lethal injection
A report appeared on Google that the US Supreme Court has said states must look beyond an intelligence test score in borderline cases of mental disability to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible to be executed
#Sudan – Meriam Ibrahim – a Christian woman has been sentenced to hang (and to a flogging) for the ‘apostasy’ of marrying a non-muslim, and for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. An AI email UA was circulated to the DPLWG on 26th May. Information in media on 31.5.14 that she was to be released but there are doubts as to the truth of this. Note – Nesrine Malik expressed concern in the Guardian (4.6.14) that western media are harming Meriam’s chances of release. Initial local opposition had been having an effect, and Government pride is an issue. She criticised David Cameron’s approach. Latest news – Meriam gave birth in chains. She is to be hanged in 2 years.
# USA – Florida – Michael Duane Zak – UA 140/14 – has exhausted his ordinary court appeals and is seeking executive commutation of his death sentence of life imprisonment. Circulated to DPLWG 28.5.14 (this month’s Urgent Action)
#Iraq – UA 151/13 – Osama Jamal ‘Abdullah Mahdi’s files are now with the office of the President for review. If his death sentence is ratified, he could be executed at any time. Circulated to DPLWG 30.5.14
Hakamada Iwao – information has been received from Caroline Butler that the Devizes Group have been in contact with AI in Japan in order to send cards and messages to Hakamada. Would the Salisbury Group like to do so?
#Belarus – a response has now been received from SCT with contact details of Barry Hay for seeking further advice – an email was sent on 10th June. Note:
Belarus is the last UN member state in Europe to have retained the death penalty. In 2013 there were no reported executions, but the death penalty was reinstated this year, and to date two men are believed to have been executed. Death row prisoners receive no advance notice and are executed by a bullet through the back of the head. This month the UN Human Rights Council will be focusing on the human rights situation in Belarus – making it a particularly appropriate time for action by Amnesty.