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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Secrecy over UK work at Bahrain’s death-row jail challenged

Britain’s secretive work at a death-row jail in Bahrain is being challenged by international human rights group Reprieve.

The UK Foreign Office paid almost a million pounds last year to NI-CO Ltd, a company owned by the Northern Irish government, for projects with Bahrain which included training hundreds of prison guards.

The company worked at a series of Bahraini jails that are renowned for torture, including Jau prison where death-row inmates are held.

Prisoners at Jau include Mohammed Ramadan, a father of three who was tortured into making a false confession which resulted in him being sentenced to death.

However, NI-CO has refused to release details of its “liaisons” with staff at these facilities, in response to a freedom of information request by Reprieve.

Now Reprieve has filed a complaint with the Information Commissioner arguing that the correspondence must be disclosed.

The UK Foreign Office said in its most recent human rights report on Bahrain that “allegations of ill-treatment in detention continue” and that it had concerns over the death penalty.

From 2015 to 2016, more than a dozen NI-CO training staff worked at Bahrain’s Jau, Hidd, Isa Town and Dry Dock prisons on “management and operational aspects”.

The company has refused to release further details about its activities, claiming that disclosure would damage its ‘commercial interests’ and sour Britain’s bi-lateral relationship with Bahrain.

In its complaint, Reprieve argues that Bahraini authorities have been more transparent about this project than NI-CO, citing an official report which said that around 400 guards at Jau received training under the scheme.

The complaint notes that the Information Commissioner has previously ordered the release of information about custodial facilities where there was public concern about the treatment of detainees, even if it damaged someone’s commercial interests.

Earlier this year, Northern Ireland’s justice department disclosed emails from NI-CO about visits by Bahraini prison guards to the poor performing Maghaberry jail, where they received instruction on “control and restraint training”, “incident management” and drug detection.

Harriet McCulloch, deputy director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said:

“NI-CO needs to come clean over its work with Bahrain’s jail guards. The company is hiding details of its activities at Bahrain’s death row prison, where innocent father of three Mohammed Ramadan faces execution after he was tortured into a false confession. NI-CO is owned by Stormont and its work in Bahrain is paid for by the UK Foreign Office, so it must be fully transparent about its dealings with a notorious prison system where torture is systematic.”

  • More detail on Mohammed Ramadan’s case is available on the Reprieve website here
  • Reprieve’s report on NI-CO, Belfast to Bahrain: the torture trail, is available to download here.


Source: Reprieve, October 13, 2016. Reprieve is an international human rights organization.

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