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Alabama executes Muslim man who said his religious rights were violated

By
Darryl Coote

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Domineque Ray was executed Thursday night in Alabama following the Supreme Court siding against his argument that his religious rights were being violated because his imam would not be allowed to be with him when he was put to death.

The court voted 5-4 to lift the stay against the Muslim man's execution with the four liberal justices in dissent, the New York Times reported.

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Ray, 42, was sentenced to death in 1995 for the rape, robbery and murder of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville in Selma.

"Due to the nature of his crime, the decision of a jury to condemn him to death and because our legal system has worked as designed, Mr. Ray's sentence was carried out," Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement, CNN reported.

Under Alabama's policy, a Christian chaplain could be in the room during the execution.

As his execution neared, Ray requested that his imam be present during the execution but Alabama said that would not be possible as only department of corrections employees are allowed in the room.

Ray's attorneys then petitioned to have the chaplain exchanged for his imam, and on Wednesday the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of the execution, stating the case raised serious questions about religious discrimination, the New York Times reported.

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While the Supreme Court Justices who voted to lift the stay Thursday said Ray had waited too long to make his appeal, Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the dissenters, said the majority was "profoundly wrong."

Ray had originally been scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. He was put to death at 10:20 p.m., his lawyer Spencer Hahn said.

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