Mobile, Ala., Feb 8, 2019 / 16:18 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A Muslim man convicted of murder has been executed in Alabama without his imam present, despite the man’s requests to have his spiritual advisor with him during his execution.
Domineque Ray, 42, was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl. Ray specifically requested that the Christian prison chaplain be excluded from the execution chamber, and asked that his imam be present to “provide spiritual guidance for him at the time of his death.”
He also requested that he not be required to undergo an autopsy, as that would have conflicted with his religious beliefs. The warden reportedly denied the first two requests and said she had no authority to grant the third.
Consequently, the prison’s officials said they would allow the Christian chaplain, Chris Summers, into the execution chamber to kneel and pray with the prisoner, though the prisoner would not be required to pray with the chaplain. The officials reportedly said it would be a security risk to let a non-employee of the state’s correctional department into the execution chamber.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday granted a stay of execution until it could determine whether the prison had violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, after Ray appealed the prison’s decision. In defending the prison’s decision, the state said Ray’s imam, Yusef Maisonet, would be allowed to visit him on the day of the execution and could accompany him up until he entered the execution chamber.