The Honorable Robert Bentley
Governor of the State of Alabama
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130
Fax: (334) 353-0004
Re: Thomas Arthur
Dear Governor Bentley:
Human Rights Watch strongly urges you to prevent the execution of Thomas Arthur, currently scheduled for March 29, 2012.
The cornerstones of human rights are the respect for the inherent dignity of all human beings and the right to equal treatment. Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment because the inherent dignity of the person cannot be squared with the death penalty, a form of punishment unique in its cruelty and finality, and a punishment inevitably and universally plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error.
Given the irrevocability of death, every precaution must be taken to ensure that mistakes are not made. Since 1973, 140 persons—including five in Alabama—have been released from US death rows after they were shown to be innocent of the crimes for which they had been sentenced to die. Some had come within days of execution.
Alabama simply should not tolerate the risk that one of its citizens will be executed for a crime he or she did not commit.
For these reasons, we urge you prevent the execution of Thomas Arthur.
Director, US Program
Human Rights Watch