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Death row Scot up for appeal • Tuesday May 6, 2003

BBC, May 3, 2003

Amnesty International are to attend one of the final appeals available to a Scottish man waiting on death row in America.

Kenny Richey has spent 16 years on death row after being convicted of an arson attack on an apartment block that killed two-year-old Cynthia Collins.

The death penalty is a barbaric human rights violation, rejected by a growing number of civilized countries.

America’s severely flawed ‘justice system’ has a lengthy record of wrongful convictions.

100+ innocent people have been rescued from death row.

The USA is among the very few countries that executes the mentally ill or child offenders.

Mr Richey, who has a Scottish mother and grew up in Edinburgh, will have his appeal heard in Cincinatti on 7 May.

It will be attended by Amnesty International UK member Shauneen Lambe as well as other international legal experts.

The human rights organisation, which campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty, said it was especially concerned at the case.

‘Compelling case’

It described it as “one of the most compelling cases of innocence human rights campaigners have ever seen.”

Amnesty International is drawing attention to questions about the fairness of 39-year-old Mr Richey’s trial and the safeness of his conviction.

He was convicted of arson and murder in 1987 and has been on death row since then.

Amnesty said new evidence has since emerged casting serious doubt on the question of Mr Richey’s guilt.

Final appeals

A spokesman said this new evidence appears to have been accepted by the state, which nevertheless intends to press ahead with the execution process.

The 7 May appeal is one of the last available appeals open to Kenny Richey.

The case has seen appeals on his behalf from Pope John Paul II and the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a resolution passed in June 1992 the European Parliament expressed its doubt concerning the validity of the sentence.

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