USA: Kenny Richey's move to County Jail welcomed

Scottish man to come off death row for first time in 20 years

Amnesty International UK and other anti-death penalty campaigners have welcomed today’s announcement that Kenny Richey, a Scottish man on death row in Ohio, is to be moved off death row and placed in a county jail in the state.

The organisation is now calling for Mr Richey to be granted bail on humanitarian grounds as he prepares to mount a defence in a retrial following a federal court decision in August that his capital conviction was unsound and should be overturned.

Mr Richey was convicted of arson and murder in the state of Ohio in 1986 and sentenced to death on 27 January 1987. He has been on death row since then - over 20 years - but has always protested his innocence.

Amnesty International Scotland Director John Watson said:

“This is good news and we welcome the fact that for the first time in over 20 years Kenny is coming off death row.

“Having experienced the dreadful ordeal of getting only shoddy justice and then having to fight desperately for years to clear his name, Kenny is at least now away from the mental torture of life on death row.

“No-one should have to face a death penalty in the first place - now the important thing is that Kenny gets a proper retrial and the opportunity for justice long denied to him. On humanitarian grounds we would now like to see Kenny granted bail as he prepares for his retrial.”

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:

“Fantastic! Kenny is another step closer to clearing his name and the freedom he deserves.

“I know from all these years of talking to Kenny that life for him on death row has sometimes been close to unbearable and it’s only right that he gets to come out of that oppressive environment now he’s having a retrial.

“The next step is for him to be granted bail. After all that he’s been through, the least the Ohio authorities owe Kenny is the right to mount his defence as free man.”

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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