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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 4.24.19

Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 4.24.19

Last week the Alabama Supreme Court set May 16th as the execution date for Michael Brandon Samra. Talking Points are on our website as well as on our Facebook page and we encourage you to contact Governor Ivey to ask her to stay this as well as all executions. 

We are following with interest the federal civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of Charles Burton Jr , a long time Muslim who is challenging Alabama’s policy of allowing only a Protestant Christian chaplain in the execution chamber. Burton argues that Alabama’s policy violates the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment and the religious freedom amendment of the Alabama state constitution by denying non-Christian prisoners access to religious advisors during executions in circumstances in which spiritual assistance is made available to Protestant Christian prisoners. At this point even for Christians the only spiritual assistance available is the DOC chaplain whether they know him or not and they cannot choose to have their own spiritual advisor present.

Quoting directly from the Death Penalty Information weekly updates: “The Alabama House of Representatives voted 94-0 to expand the state's death-penalty statute to make the killing of a first responder a capital offense. HB 59 now advances to the state senate. If enacted, Alabama's statute will have 21 types of murder punishable by death, one of the broadest capital punishment laws in the country.”

We received some great news from our very active Advisory Board member, Dr. Katie Owens-Murphy who is a professor at North Alabama State University. This week during their “Research Week” one of her graduate student research assistants, Luke Smith will be presenting. His topic is our organization Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty. We have seen the poster, a great job, and so this week we will be featured and represented on their campus. As Katie wrote: Keep Hope Alive! And yes, there will be more to come from North Alabama, so please stay tuned!

Our thanks also to the response from the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to our last report which gave us permission to add their organization to the many listed on our website in support of abolition/moratorium. We continue to work on our letter writing project.

We continue to thank anonymous donors who give via ActBlue and attribute their generosity to our friend Lauren Gill who when congratulated on her article in the Nation lets people know that yes, we appreciate financial support. And Stop Press as the saying goes, the Board was thrilled to receive their copies of The Nation with our article. Thank you Lauren for making this happen!

                                                          Esther