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US State of Alabama Executes Muslim on Death Row By Lethal Injection

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ALABAMA – A Muslim inmate in Alabama was put to death Thursday night after the Supreme Court denied his request for an imam to be present.

Dominique Ray, 42, was executed by lethal injection Thursday and pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m., The Associated Press reported.

He had argued before the Supreme Court that Alabama’s execution process favors Christian inmates because it allows a Christian chaplain employed by the prison to be present while the lethal injection is administered.

State attorneys argued that prison employees are allowed in the chamber for security reasons and the prison did not employ imams. The state did agree that Ray had the rights to decide for a Christian chaplain to not be present at his execution.

Ray recited a Muslim testament of faith in Arabic as his last words.

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling allowed the execution to proceed Thursday, overturning a ruling the previous day from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that stayed the execution on religious grounds.

Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told the AP that Ray’s execution was the first time the state had an objection to a chaplain’s presence and that Alabama would review its procedures moving forward. Other states typically allow religious advisers to accompany inmates up until the execution chamber, but not into it accord to the AP.

Ray’s was Alabama’s first execution in 2019. He was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl.

Attorneys for Ray had also requested the execution be stayed after claiming that prosecutors had not disclosed to them records from a state psychiatric facility suggesting Ray was mentally ill. The Supreme Court also rejected that request.

“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,” Spencer Hahn, one of Ray’s attorney, wrote in a statement to the AP.

Ray’s legal team said their client’s name was Domineque, while the prison system spelled it as Dominique.

“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,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said.