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USA - Willie B. Smith (AL)
USA - Willie B. Smith (AL)
USA - Alabama. Willie B. Smith won a reprieve from a scheduled lethal injection

February 11, 2021:

Willie B. Smith won a reprieve from a scheduled lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court said the state could not proceed without his pastor in the death chamber. Smith, 51, Black, was scheduled to receive a lethal injection today for the 1991 murder of 22-year-old Sharma Ruth Johnson in Birmingham.
The lethal injection was called off after the U.S. Supreme Court maintained a February 10 injunction issued by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying he could be executed without his pastor present in chamber. The state prison system said the execution would not proceed given the ruling. Alabama has maintained that non-prison staff should not be in the room for security reasons.
"Alabama has not carried its burden of showing that the exclusion of all clergy members from the execution chamber is necessary to ensure prison security. So the State cannot now execute Smith without his pastor present, to ease what Smith calls the 'transition between the worlds of the living and the dead,'" Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the order maintaining injunction.
Smith was sentenced to death in 1992 following a non-unanimous sentencing vote by his jury. He had asked Alabama to allow his spiritual advisor, Pastor Robert Paul Wiley Jr., to provide him religious comfort in the execution chamber and, when the state refused, his lawyers filed a civil rights suit in federal court challenging the state’s action. That suit, filed on December 14, 2020, alleged that Alabama’s refusal violated the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), the Religious Freedom Amendment to the Alabama constitution, and the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The district court dismissed his suit and he appealed to the Eleventh Circuit.
In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court ruled that Smith had shown that he was likely to succeed on his RLUIPA claim. "Mr. Smith pled that he believes that the point of transition between life and death is important, and that having his spiritual advisor physically present at that moment is integral to his faith," Smith's lawyers wrote in court documents.
In the past, Alabama routinely brought in a Christian prison chaplain who would pray with an inmate if requested. The state stopped that practice after Muslim inmates asked to have an imam present, saying it would no longer allow non-prison staff in the chamber. On February 4, 2021, Imam Yusef Maisonet filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal district court alleging that ADOC had discriminated against Muslim death-row prisoners Domineque Ray and Nathaniel Woods by refusing to permit Maisonet to attend to them in the execution chamber during their executions.
When Ray was executed on February 7, 2019, Alabama’s execution protocol mandated the presence of the prison’s Christian chaplain in the execution chamber to the exclusion of all other faiths. Following a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision permitting his execution to go forward, Alabama revised its execution protocol to prohibit any religious advisor in the execution chamber. On March 5, 2020, Alabama applied this new policy to deny Maisonet permission to minister to Woods during his execution.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/13/alabama-death-row-reprieve-willie-b-smith-iii-pastor

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/news/federal-appeals-court-enjoins-alabama-execution-on-claim-of-religious-discrimination

(Source: theguardian.com, 11/02/2021)

JORDAN: DEATH SENTENCE OVERTURNED FOR MAN WHO KILLED FIVE-YEAR-OLD NEPHEW
INDIA: PATNA SCHOOL PRINCIPAL GETS DEATH PENALTY FOR RAPING CLASS 5 STUDENT
IRAN - 1 woman and 6 men executed in Rajai Shahr Prison on February 17
IRAN - 2 more men executed on February 17 at Rajai Shahr Prison
BANGLADESH: SIX SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING FOUR OF A FAMILY IN KURIGRAM
SAUDI ARABIA: SAUDI NATIONAL HANDED DEATH PENALTY FOR MURDER OF BANGLADESHI WOMAN
IRAN - Ali Dadfari-Mazandarani executed on February 16 in Boroujerd Prison
NIGERIA: DISMISSED SARS OFFICER SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING
BANGLADESH: COURT SENTENCES 5 TO DEATH FOR KILLING US BLOGGER AVIJIT ROY
MYANMAR: JUNTA PARDONS OVER 23,000 PRISONERS AS PROTESTS CONTINUE
SOMALILAND: NORWEGIAN CITIZEN SENTENCED TO DEATH COULD BE SHOT WITHIN A FEW DAYS
IRAN - Iran Denies Citizen Detained In Turkey Is A Consulate Employee
USA - Federal Executions Were Likely COVID Superspreader Events
IRAN - Saeed Ali-Mohammadi executed at Nour Prison on February 14
IRAN - Mansour Ghazagh executed on February 13 at Birjand Prison
SAUDI ARABIA: EGYPTIAN ALI ABU AL-QASIM’S DEATH SENTENCE REDUCED TO 25 YEARS IN PRISON
SRI LANKA: STAY ORDER ON DEATH PENALTY EXTENDED
IRAN - Bahavar Tanazi executed at Meshgin Shahr Prison on February 13
IRAN - Jamaluddin Brahui and Mohammad Barahui executed at Birjand prison on February 13
IRAN - Another Iranian Diplomat Arrested for Terror
BANGLADESH: EIGHT ISLAMISTS TO HANG OVER MURDER OF PUBLISHER
SUDAN: KHARTOUM AUTHORITIES HANG SOUTH SUDANESE WOMAN
YEMEN: HOUTHI-RUN COURT SENTENCES LAWMAKERS TO DEATH
IRAQ: FIVE ‘TERRORISM’ CONVICTS HANGED
NIGERIA: 40-YEAR-OLD MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER ARMED ROBBERY
PAKISTAN: DEATH SENTENCE COMMUTED FOR TWO MENTALLY ILL CONVICTS
THAILAND: ISRAELI ON DEATH ROW TO BE TRANSFERRED TO ISRAEL
USA - Pennsylvania. Christopher Williams Released From Prison After Being Cleared of Another Murder
IRAN - Mehrdad Taleshi, 21, Killed in Police Custody
BOTSWANA: TWO MEN HANGED FOR MURDER

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