SCOTUS refuses Muslim inmate’s request for imam instead of Christian chaplain for execution
On Thursday evening at 10:12 pm, Alabama executed death row inmate Domineque Ray by lethal injection, after the Supreme Court denied his request for his imam, a Muslim chaplain, to be present. Ray had argued that Alabama making only Christian chaplain’s available infringed his constitutional rights.
In an 11th-hour ruling, the court rejected a stay of execution with a pending a religious rights claim. Instead of being present with him, Ray’s imam, Yusef Maisonet, was placed in an adjoining chamber and saw Ray’s execution from there.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Ray said an Islamic declaration of faith before he passed.
Initially, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Ray’s execution due to the possibility Alabama had “run afoul” of the religious freedom granted to all people. However, the Supreme Court made a 5-4 vote to reject the stay of execution, stating Ray had waited too long and would not meet the execution deadline if his request was granted.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a statement saying, “For 20 years, Domineque Ray has successfully eluded execution for the barbaric murder of a 15-year-old Selma girl… Tonight, Ray’s long-delayed appointment with justice is finally met.”
Justice Elena Kagan was one of the judges who dissented, writing, “Here, Ray has put forward a powerful claim that his religious rights will be violated at the moment the State puts him to death. The Eleventh Circuit wanted to hear that claim in full. Instead, this Court short-circuits that ordinary process — and itself rejects the claim with little briefing and no argument — just so the State can meet its preferred execution date.”
Spencer Hahn, one of Ray’s attorneys, said in a statement, “Domineque was a devout Muslim and a human being. He was a son, a father, a brother. He wanted equal treatment in his last moments.”
In Alabama, a Muslim inmate requested an imam, instead of the Christian chaplain, to be in the room during his final moments The state refused and he was executed anyway. https://t.co/6e69RsAxHQ
— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) February 8, 2019
Alabama executed Dominique Ray last night at 10:15pm
A trained & certified Imam was available but SCOTUS refused to grant a condemned man his dying wish—Meanwhile Christian inmates are granted such requests
An injustice to equal protection under the lawhttps://t.co/jNNPtCULO1
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) February 8, 2019