UK parliamentarians join EU and Catholic Church to oppose execution

By staff writers
29 Aug 2011

British Members of Parliament have joined the European Union and Catholic bishops in calls to stop the execution of a Cuban national, Manuel Valle, from going ahead in Florida on 6 September.

A cross-party group of UK MPs and members of the House of Lords has written to Florida's Governor, Rick Scott, urging him to commute to life imprisonment the sentence of Manuel Valle who has been on death row for over three decades.

The British parliamentarians are the latest body to join calls opposing the execution of Valle. The EU’s Ambassador to the US has written to Rick Scott to “make an urgent humanitarian appeal on behalf of Mr Valle”, while Florida’s Catholic bishops have also called on Governor Scott to commute the sentence to life imprisonment.

The legal action charity Repreive reports that Europe is alarmed by the absence of a meaningful clemency process in Mr Valle’s case, with Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida describing it as a “great concern” for the EU. The UK parliamentarians have stated that it “violates international minimum standards of due process.”

They also cite concerns over the use of a new execution drug, pentobarbital, which may cause extreme and unnecessary pain and suffering to Manuel Valle. Referring to his 33 year period of imprisonment on death row. the UK Parliamentarians add that “prolonged incarceration on death row amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and violates international human rights law”.

The Spanish Consul General in Miami has also written to Governor Scott on the issue of clemency for Valle, who has strong family links to Spain.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has urged the US to stay the execution while it investigates a range of concerns, including the apparent failure to provide Valle with consular access and the possibility that pentobarbital may cause intense pain and suffering.

Katherine Bekesi, an investigator for Reprieve said: “Governor Scott must not ignore the growing chorus of international opposition to the impending execution of Manuel Valle. To proceed with an execution when there have been so many legal violations in this case would irreparably damage the global reputation of both Florida and the US.”

[Ekk/4]

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