Execution Set for Wednesday, Despite Prisoner's Mental Disability
Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 212-633-4150, @strimel
(Washington, DC) – Laura Moye, director of Amnesty International's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign, issued the following comments today in response to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles' decision denying clemency to death row prisoner Warren Hill, despite evidence of his mental disability:
"Amnesty International is deeply disappointed that the Parole Board failed to intervene where the courts' rigidity has clouded the constitutional principle that the mentally disabled must not be executed. Georgia's legacy as the first state to ban the execution of the mentally disabled has regrettably been compromised by an incredibly high standard of proof that leaves space for some mentally disabled individuals to be executed. Georgia's reputation will be badly tarnished if it executes Warren Hill on Wednesday. No other death penalty state in the U.S. requires proof of mental retardation beyond a reasonable doubt. In any other state, Hill would not face execution, given the evidence that a Georgia judge determined in 2002 was sufficient to prove his mental condition by a "preponderance of the evidence." Amnesty International now hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will intervene, recognizing the necessity to avert a grave human rights abuse and a moral and ethical tragedy. Amnesty International further urges the Georgia Legislature and courts to address this serious problem in state law."
Hill faces execution on Wednesday for the 1990 murder of a fellow prisoner.
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.