Permalink Amnesty slams US execution of mentally-ill prisoners

Amnesty International has criticized the United States for permitting execution of mentally-impaired prisoners. The human rights organization issued a report on Friday saying the US actions run contrary to international laws. Amnesty said there is so much ambiguity in US law on the right of these people to avoid “cruel and unusual punishments” despite protections for the criminally insane. According to the UK-based rights group, disabilities remain unidentified during criminal processes in numerous cases. The document provided information on several mentally-disabled inmates in the US who either have been or are scheduled to be executed in 2014. Among them are prisoners for whom there is strong evidence that they are suffering mental impairment or have a long history of intellectual disabilities. So far this year, a number of 30 inmates have been executed, while 18 more will receive capital punishment. In 2013 alone, 39 people were executed in the United States. In September, a mentally-ill inmate in the US state of North Carolina, who was held in solitary confinement for 35 days, died of dehydration. Michael Anthony Kerr, who suffered from schizophrenia, died of thirst in the back of a van on March 12 while being transported from his prison to a mental hospital. The prison population of the United States is by far the largest in the world. Just under one-quarter of the world's prisoners are held in American prisons, according to a report published in May by the National Research Council.

AI: Death Penalty: Countries continue to execute people with mental and intellectual disabilities


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