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Scotland: Kenny Richey is remembered at the Scottish Parliament on Burn’s Night

While Scotland celebrates the birthday of its favourite poet, performers will also be remembering Kenny Richey, the Scottish man on Death Row in the USA for the last 19 years.

Tomorrow also marks the anniversary of the over-turning of Kenny Richey’s death sentence by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal and yet he is still on Death Row and still fighting to clear his name.

Mr Richey was convicted of arson and murder in the US state of Ohio in 1986 and sentenced to death on 27 January 1987. This Friday also marks the 19th year he has been on death row having always protested his innocence. Since his conviction evidence has emerged casting serious doubt on Mr Richey’s guilt.

On Wednesday 25 January, there will be 2 performances of A Letter from Death Row, the Kenny Richey story by Edinburgh-based theatre group SpartKi. One will take place in the Scottish Parliament at 3pm and another at 6pm the same day at The Stand, York Place, Edinburgh.

Anti-Death Row campaigner and Kenny Richey’s fiancée, Karen Torley said: “Its really wonderful that these people have taken the time and energy to bring Kenny’s case to life.”

“The performance will really help people see and understand what really happened and it can only help the campaign.”
Many MSPs and MPs have voiced their concern at the judicial processes that have kept Mr Richey behind bars and it is fitting that the Scottish Parliament should host one of the events. This month the campaign to clear his name was joined by Sister Helen Prejean, an author and anti-death penalty campaigner, whose best-selling book Dead Man Walking was made into a feature film starring Sean Penn and Susan Saradon. Amnesty International held an event ‘Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Against the Death Penalty’ attended by Sister Helen and Karen Torley.

Amnesty International’s Programme Director, Scotland, Rosemary Burnett said: “"It is so important that people know the injustice that Kenny Richey is continuing to suffer. He is not the only one - there are literally hundreds of people on death row in the USA who have never received a fair trial and who have never been given a chance to put the evidence in their favour before a court. The application of the death penalty appears to be arbitrary, with those unable to afford experienced counsel from the outset more likely to end up on death row."

Edinburgh based SpartaKi ( ) will present a rehearsed reading of A Letter from Death Row, the Kenny Richey story. This is part of a series of readings of the hour-long play, specially written by Johnny Brown, which tells the story of Kenny Richey. Simultaneous live readings will be taking in place in Glasgow, London, Dublin, Orkney and on Resonance FM in London. Directed by Helen-Marie O'Malley, cast includes Sean Hay, Suzanne Dance, Doug MacFarlane and Christina Cochrane.

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