United States: One thousand deaths too many

August 2, 2009

Siddique Abdullah Hasan is on death row in Ohio. He is one of the Lucasville Five, prisoners railroaded onto death row after a 1993 prison rebellion against abuses by prison authorities. Below, he writes about the July 21 execution in Ohio of Marvallous Keene — the 1000th prisoner to be executed by lethal injection in the US since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

For more information, visit Abdullah Hasan's website, www.freehasan.org. This is abridged from www.socialistworker.org.


In spite of the milestone we have made with the election of the first African-American president, it is sad that, in the 21st century and in such an industrialised nation, we have now executed the 1000th person by way of lethal injection.

Is it really a coincidence that Marvallous Keene was a Black man?

As if lethal injection is a sanitised way of killing someone! Regardless of how an execution is carried out, it still amounts to murder. Another murder that this society doesn't need to make society safe.

There are too many injustices and too much unfairness to support any form of execution in this country. Too many minorities are being victimised by it.

You have veterinarians unwilling to use elements of the lethal injection on animals, yet this government is willing to use it on human beings. Animal life is more important to it than human life.

But it's hard to tell Ohio authorities, considering that they just killed two people last week — and that, between now and February 4, 2010, seven more executions are scheduled.

One of these people, scheduled for execution on January 7, is a very good friend and dear Muslim brother of mine. I'm trying to see that he gets a proper Islamic burial.

We need concerned citizens to show some collective responsibility. We need a national movement to put this issue on the table so that President Barack Obama's administration turns its attention to the criminal injustice system.

Should we wait on them? No! We should unify our efforts in the anti-death penalty movement and demand that Obama's administration does something about it.

It is my hope and prayer that the soldiers in the abolitionist movement step up to the plate and use every resource available at our disposal to work toward abolishing the death penalty nationally.

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