Muslim death row inmate denied request to have imam present in execution chamber

Muslim death row inmate denied request to have imam present in execution chamber
Dominique Ray (Image: Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

[Ed. – There’s a temptation to say that he could have avoided this predicament by not raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in the first place, but that’s facile and irrelevant to the larger point. Alabama, where Ray was executed, employs a Christian chaplain who typically remains in the execution chamber during the administration of the lethal injection.]

A Muslim inmate who filed a legal challenge because Alabama wouldn’t let his Islamic spiritual adviser be present in the execution chamber was put to death Thursday after the nation’s highest court cleared the way.

Dominique Ray, 42, was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m. of a lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore.

Ray had argued Alabama’s execution procedure favors Christian inmates because a Christian chaplain employed by the prison typically remains in the execution chamber during a lethal injection, but the state would not let his imam be there in the room.

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Attorneys for the state said only prison employees are allowed in the chamber for security reasons.

Ray’s imam, Yusef Maisonet, watched the execution from an adjoining witness room, after visiting with Ray over the past two days. There was no Christian chaplain in the chamber, a concession the state agreed to make.

Strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, Ray was asked by the warden if he had any final words. The inmate said an Islamic statement of his faith in Arabic.

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