Muslim Inmate Executed in Alabama After Legal Battle Over Religious Rights

inmate executed over religious rightsUPDATED: 2019/02/08 10AM

Domineque Ray, 42, was sentenced to death in 1999 for his part in the 1995 rape and murder of Tiffany Harville, a teenage girl in Selma, Alabama. He was put to death on Thursday night, February 7th, after arguing that his religious rights were violated because Alabama would not allow his imam by his side at his execution. Alabama’s state policy is to have a Christian chaplain in the room.

Ray and his attorneys petitioned the court last month to have the chaplain removed from the room and to instead have an imam to offer him spiritual guidance and he was granted a stay on his execution as he argued for his religious rights. The Supreme Court voted on Thursday to lift a stay for the death row inmate.

The state argued that it was a matter of security–anyone in the room during an execution must be a Dept. of Corrections employee. They offered instead to hold the execution without a religious cleric in the room and asked the Supreme Court to overturn the stay.

Ray’s attorney argued that the imam visits 10 death row inmates each month and has passed necessary security checks.

In a statement on Thursday night, Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey said, “Due to the nature of his crime, the decision of a jury to condemn him to death and because our legal system has worked as designed, Mr. Ray’s sentence was carried out. Courts at every level have upheld Mr. Ray’s conviction for his senseless act. Accordingly, the laws of this state have been carried out. It is my prayer that, with tonight’s events, Miss Harville’s family can finally have closure.”

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