Edinburgh: Pipers to mark 40th birthday of death row Scot at US Consulate

Three pipers in full highland regalia will lead a delegation taking a ‘Kenny birthday cake’ (featuring a photograph of Kenny Richey) to the consulate building as well as a thousand birthday cards from well-wishers. The human rights campaigners will be joined by Karen Richey, Kenny’s Scottish wife.

The event is being held to raise awareness of Kenny Richey’s plight, as he awaits news of his appeal against a death sentence passed in 1987. Since his conviction evidence has emerged casting serious doubt on Mr Richey’s guilt, evidence that appears to have been accepted by the state of Ohio even though it nevertheless intends to press ahead with the execution process.

Amnesty International, which has called Kenny’s case “one of the most compelling cases of apparent innocence that human rights campaigners have ever come across”, is urging the Ohio state authorities to allow Kenny Richey the opportunity to have fresh evidence heard. This may mean that his case is re-tried, that he is accorded a new evidentiary hearing or a re-sentencing hearing is allowed.

Kenny, who has a Scottish mother and grew up in Edinburgh, is seeking support from the UK government. The government has a policy of opposing the death penalty and campaigners are pressing it to act in Kenny’s case.

Karen Richey said:

“Kenny’s birthday wish is to have the UK government fully involved in fighting his case and helping him to clear his name. We’re here to make that case for him.”

Reprieve Director Andie Lambe said:

'Kenny has spent 17 birthdays facing execution. Reprieve hopes the old adage comes true and that his life can really begin at 40.'

Amnesty International Scotland Programme Director John Watson said:

“Well-wishers have sent us a thousand cards for Kenny’s birthday - a sign of the strong feeling in Scotland about the need for Kenny to receive justice in Ohio. We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances - but Kenny’s 18-year ordeal comes after a flawed trial and a failure to consider fresh evidence.”

Note to picture editors

The pipers and campaigners will be available for a photo-call and interview outside the consulate.

Time: 11am Tuesday 3 August

Location: US Consulate, 3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BW

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