US Supreme Court allows execution of Muslim inmate in Alabama to go ahead

This undated file photo from the Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Dominique Ray. (AP File)
Updated 08 February 2019

US Supreme Court allows execution of Muslim inmate in Alabama to go ahead

  • The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed on Wednesday to stay Thursday’s planned execution to weigh Ray’s arguments

NEW YORK: The US Supreme Court on Thursday voted 5-4 to allow the execution of an Alabama inmate, who wanted his imam to witness his death.
Attorneys for Dominique Ray, 42, had argued that Alabama’s execution policy favors Christian inmates because a chaplain is allowed in the room, often kneeling next to the death row prisoner, and praying with the inmate if asked.
Ray had asked his imam to replace the chaplain in his death chamber.
The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed on Wednesday to stay Thursday’s planned execution to weigh Ray’s arguments, but the state of Alabama quickly appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned the Circuit Court.
Ray was sentenced to death in 1999 for the killing of Tiffany Harville, 15, who disappeared from her Selma, Alabama home in July 1995.
It was not immediately clear if the state of Alabama would go through with the execution on Thursday night following the Supreme Court order.


Delhi’s air quality turns ‘severe’ as toxic haze lingers

Updated 24 min 13 sec ago

Delhi’s air quality turns ‘severe’ as toxic haze lingers

  • During the last two months, the capital’s 20 million residents have breathed “moderate” to “satisfactory” air only for four days
  • The air quality index was “very poor” on most days this month

NEW DELHI: India’s capital New Delhi was shrouded in a toxic haze for the second straight day on Thursday, and visibility dropped due to cooler temperatures and lower wind speeds that let deadly pollutants hang in the air.
The air quality index crossed 400 on a scale of 500, indicative of “severe” conditions that pose a risk for healthy people and can seriously impact those with existing diseases.
The index measures the concentration of deadly pollutant PM2.5 — tiny particles that can enter the bloodstream. Chronic exposure to such pollutants can contribute to the risk of developing diseases such as lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
Federal pollution control officials were tracking the air quality status, Prashant Gargava, member secretary at the Central Pollution Control Board, told Reuters.
The board falls under the federal environment ministry.
Under an emergency action plan, authorities shut down brick kilns and halted all construction activity during the day.
During the last two months, the capital’s 20 million residents have breathed “moderate” to “satisfactory” air only for four days, according to a record of official data compiled by Reuters.
The air quality index was “very poor” on most days this month.
Air quality levels have crossed 400 for a second time this month despite farm fires from Delhi’s neighboring states — blamed by authorities as the primary cause for poor air quality in recent weeks — coming to an end with the onset of winter.
“Now fire counts are almost stopped except in a few routine incidences and hence no contribution to Delhi’s air quality is expected now onwards for the season,” government-run monitor SAFAR said.
The relentless focus on stamping out farm fires every year tends to deflect scrutiny from authorities that are falling behind on cleaning up industry or improving public transport, critics say.
Vehicular exhausts, along with emissions from industry, contribute more than 50% of Delhi’s air pollution on most days through the year, according to official estimates.
SAFAR forecast rain later on Thursday, but added that Delhi’s air quality was likely to deteriorate next week due to foggy conditions.