Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Texas Inmate Mark "Arab Slayer" Stroman Executed

Image: Rais Bhuiyan
Brandon Thibodeaux  /  Brandon Thibodeaux for
Rais Bhuiyan launched a campaign to halt the execution of Mark Stroman, who shot him in the face during a 2001 rampage that left two other men dead. Bhuiyan made a last-ditch effort to win a stay using a novel argument based on the Texas Victims' Rights Bill.

The state of Texas executed convicted murderer Mark Stroman on Wednesday after rejecting the last move in a campaign to spare his life by a survivor of the former meth addict’s Sept. 11-inspired shooting spree.
Stroman was given a lethal injection of drugs and pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m. local time, Michelle Lyons, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman, said.
"The Lord Jesus Christ be with me," Stroman said, according to Lyons. "I am at peace. Hate is going on in this world, and it has to stop. One second of hate will cause a lifetime of pain. I'm still a proud American. Texas loud, Texas proud. God bless America, God bless everyone."
Dallas resident Rais Bhuiyan, one of three men shot by Stroman in 2001 — and the sole survivor — had lobbied for months for Texas to commute Stroman’s death penalty in favor of a life sentence without parole. The 37-year-old tech professional argued that his Muslim faith calls on him to forgive and seek mercy for Stroman, 41.
He made an unprecedented argument early Wednesday in an Austin court based on the Texas Victims Bill of Rights, requesting a stay of execution so that he can pursue his right to mediation with the offender — a move that could have postponed Stroman’s execution for months or even years.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the argument, but a late state court appeal by Bhuiyan in Austin delayed the execution, local media reported, citing The Associated Press.
The last-minute lawsuit — naming Gov. Rick Perry as a plaintiff — was an ironic twist on the state law, as “victims’ rights” are often invoked to justify harsh penalties for offenders.
“Plaintiff strongly desires mediation and reconciliation, and has for a long time,” the legal complaint said, alleging that the state never informed Bhuiyan of this right. “(His) own ability to reach a cathartic point in his own recovery depends very much on his being able to make full efforts to help Mark Stroman to reach his full potential, and to overcome the very negative lessons that he was taught as a child. … This will inevitable be a process that will take time."
Injury… outweighed
After several hours U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued an order denying a stay of execution, saying that the case had failed to meet several prerequisites that would give the federal court jurisdiction to intervene. Among them, Bhuiyan had failed to show “a substantial threat of irreparable injury if the injunction is not issued,” he said.
A ruling in Bhuiyan’s favor “would allow litigants to delay an execution indefinitely by filing a succession of requests for injunctive relief in unrelated civil actions mere days before an execution,” Yeakel wrote. “… Thus, the irreparable injury asserted by Bhuiyan — his claim of violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights statute being rendered moot — is outweighed by the damage to the operation of the criminal justice system as a whole that would result from this Court’s granting the request.”
Image: Mark Stroman
Mark Stroman, who killed two men and wounded a third.
Human rights activist Rick Halperin, an ardent supporter of Bhuiyan, said the decision was disappointing but not surprising.Read more...

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