Rais Bhuiyan's attempts to spare the life of Mark Stroman, the white supremacist who shot him in the face and killed two other men he believed to be Muslim in the days following September 11, 2001, have failed: A federal judge down in Austin denied the Dallas man's petition for clemency that would have allowed Bhuiyan to meet with Stroman. Bhuiyan's attorneys are filing an emergency appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans at this very moment. But the tone of a missive sent by his legal team is not optimistic.
The release also contains the following comment from one of Bhuiyan's biggest supporters, Rick Halperin, head of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU, which is where Anna first met Bhuiyan several weeks ago when he once again reiterated his belief that "by executing him now, we are losing everything." Says Halperin:
"I am not surprised but I am extremely disappointed in the callousness that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Gov. Perry have taken toward these specific pleas for mercy and compassion and life from both the survivor and the victims' family members. It is now at long last painfully clear that there is no such thing in Texas as clemency for condemned inmates. It is equally painful to realize that victims of violent crimes who speak on behalf of mercy and compassion are to be ignored or marginalized by the stalling of top appointed and elected officials."
The execution is set for 6 p.m. in Huntsville. And I see here, on Kickstarter, that a New York filmmaker is trying to fund a documentary about all this. Soon, it seems, he will have his ending.
Update at 6:12 p.m.: Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials say the execution has not yet taken place. They're still awaiting word from the Fifth Circuit.
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Update: Mark Stroman was pronounced dead just before 9 p.m.