Kenny Richey case: Bail hearing welcomed

Scottish man’s ‘long road to freedom’ could begin this week

Amnesty International UK and other anti-death penalty campaigners have welcomed the fact that Kenny Richey, a Scottish man who has been on death row in Ohio, USA for over 20 years, is to have a bail hearing on Tuesday 2 October.

The hearing could mean that Mr Richey, who in August had his 1987 conviction for arson and murder overturned by a federal court, will be released from prison for the first time in 21 years. Last month the 43-year-old Scot was moved off death row and is now held in a county jail in the state.

On 10 August a federal court in Ohio ruled that his capital conviction was unsound and that he should be either released or retried. Later that month Ohio’s attorney general and a county prosecutor announced that Kenny Richey would be retried, something he himself had long called for. This week’s bail hearing could bring an announcement of when his retrial will be.

Amnesty International Scotland Director John Watson said:

“The bail hearing could mark another step on the long road to freedom for Kenny.

“After more than two decades enduring the living hell of death row, Kenny is now getting closer to the retrial he’s always called for.

“We’ve been saying for many years that Kenny Richey received only shoddy justice at the hands of the Ohio justice system and it’s imperative that Kenny finally gets a proper retrial and the opportunity for justice so long denied him.”

Mr Richey, who has a Scottish mother and grew up in Edinburgh, is also the subject of a longstanding campaign from a Scottish anti-death penalty campaigner, Karen Torley. Ms Torley said:

“The bail hearing is an important milestone for Kenny, but whether or not he gets to finally savour a bit of temporary freedom, the really important thing is the retrial.

“Kenny is looking forward to his day in court and he’s totally confident that this time his total innocence will be beyond doubt.”

For several years Amnesty International has been urging the Ohio state authorities to allow Kenny Richey the opportunity to have fresh evidence heard. It has also repeatedly asked the UK government to maintain pressure on the US authorities in line with the government’s policy of opposing the death penalty in all instances. In 2004 the government confirmed that it has a “comprehensive lobbying strategy” over Richey’s case.

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