County Court Stay Based on Challenge to Secrecy of Lethal Drugs; Georgia Continues to Pursue Execution of 'Mentally Retarded' Inmate

Press Release
July 19, 2013

County Court Stay Based on Challenge to Secrecy of Lethal Drugs; Georgia Continues to Pursue Execution of 'Mentally Retarded' Inmate

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Brian Evans, director of Amnesty International USA's Abolish the Death Penalty campaign, issued the following statement in response to the Georgia Fulton County Superior Court granting Warren Hill a stay of execution. The stay was based on a challenge concerning the secrecy of the lethal drugs the state of Georgia acquired and planned to use in Hill's execution. The Georgia Supreme Court has not received an appeal from the state of Georgia, though the state continues to say that an appeal will be filed:

"Having not filed an appeal today, the state of Georgia should now refrain from trying to overturn Warren Hill's stay of execution. It would be unconscionable for Georgia authorities to continue to pursue the execution of Warren Hill despite the fact that the victim's family opposes the execution; several jurors from the trial now object to the execution; all 7 doctors who have examined him now agree that Hill is intellectually disabled; and the U.S. Supreme Court banned executions of the intellectually disabled in 2002.

"Hill's lawyers have filed a petition regarding the ban on executing people with ‘mental retardation' at the U.S. Supreme Court (Court) that is scheduled to be considered on Sept. 30, 2013.

"Instead of trying to kill an inmate with an IQ of 70, Georgia's attorney general should support Hill's petition at the Court, so the new evidence of 'mental retardation' can be heard. The integrity of Georgia's criminal justice is at stake and all those involved must take all necessary steps to stop an unconstitutional execution.

"Amnesty International believes that the use of the death penalty is wrong, immoral and a human rights abuse - always and without exception. This practice needs to be ended in all 50 states and around the world now."

According to Amnesty International's most recent yearly report on the use of the death penalty worldwide, overall, there is a worldwide trend moving away from the use of the death penalty. Five U.S. states have legislated to abolish the death penalty in the past six years – New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), Illinois (2011), Connecticut (2012), and in May, Maryland.

Amnesty International continues its campaign to abolish the use of the death penalty in all 50 U.S. states and around the globe.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists, and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.