February 7, 2019

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate a stay of execution for Dominique Ray.

Ray was scheduled to be put to death today, but the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay, as it evaluates his claim that the state treats Muslims differently than Christians on death row. Ray, who is a Muslim, has requested that his imam be present at his execution. Christian prisoners are routinely provided a chaplain at their executions, but the state is denying Ray’s request.

The state also deprived him access to his Quran for two days prior to the execution, since being transferred to the death row cell. A U.S. District judge issued a decision ordering the Alabama DOC to provide him with a Quran, and the state ultimately complied.

Brock Boone, staff attorney of ACLU of Alabama, issued the following statement:

“The use of the death penalty in the United States is unacceptable and unconstitutional — the methods we use to kill people are tantamount to torture and the system is rife with racial bias and error. The death penalty makes the justice system’s mistakes permanent.

So long as the state of Alabama is going to continue to have and use the death penalty, it has a Constitutional responsibility to preserve the dignity and equality of the people it puts to death. The refusal to provide Dominique Ray with access to a religious leader and sacred text — as the state does for Christians and people of other faiths — is a clear violation of his right to freedom of religion. It reflects the anti-Muslim hostility that taints this country and a deeply problematic ideology about whose rights matter and whose do not.”

Online press release available here: https://www.aclualabama.org/en/press-releases/aclu-al-comment-decision-stay-execution-dominique-ray

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