Amnesty International USA Statement on Today’s Executions

Amnesty International USA Statement on Today’s Executions of Charles Singleton in Arkansas and Ynobe Matthews in Texas

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ — Dr. William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, released the following statement on the two executions that took place today in Arkansas and Texas:

“Amnesty International expresses its deepest sympathies to the families who were not able to welcome in 2004 with loved ones lost to violence. However, less than one full week into the New Year, the United States has demonstrated a reluctance to embrace its role as a leader in the international human rights community by executing two people in one day-one in Arkansas and one in Texas.

America vs. Human Rights

“The United States has long regarded itself as a beacon of human rights, as evidenced by an enlightened constitution, judicial independence, and a civil society grounded in strong traditions of free speech and press freedom. But the reality is more complex; for decades, civil rights and civil liberties groups have exposed constitutional violations and challenged abusive policies and practices. In recent years, as well, international human rights monitors have documented serious gaps in U.S. protections of the human rights of vulnerable groups. Both federal and state governments have nonetheless resisted applying to the U.S. the standards that, rightly, the U.S. applies elsewhere.”
Human Rights Watch

“While more than half the world has abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, the United States has allowed Charles Singleton to be executed-a man who suffers from irrefutable mental illness. Global standards of decency prohibit the execution of ‘persons who have become insane.’ Singleton was said to be ‘seriously deranged without treatment’ and ‘arguably incompetent with treatment.’ It was only during an episode of ‘drug-induced sanity’ that the state of Arkansas scheduled his execution.

“The execution of the mentally ill is another example of the arbitrary and unfair manner in which the death penalty system is administered. It clearly illustrates that the system is irrevocably broken and is one of the numerous reasons that support for the death penalty in the US is at its lowest level in 25 years.”

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception as it is the ultimate denial of human rights, and we will continue to demand unconditionally its worldwide abolition.

For more information on the death penalty, visit http://www.amnestyusa.org.

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