February 8, 2019 / 2:51 AM / 8 days ago

Muslim man executed after U.S. Supreme Court denies request for imam's presence

Death row inmate Domineque Ray, 42, is shown in this booking photo in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., provided February 7, 2019. Alabama Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - A Muslim man was executed in Alabama on Thursday, as originally scheduled, after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the execution, denying his request for an imam’s presence in the execution chamber.

Attorneys for Domineque Ray, 42, had argued that Alabama’s execution policy favored Christian inmates because a chaplain is allowed in the room, often kneeling next to the death row prisoner, and praying with the inmate if requested.

Ray was executed by lethal injection at 10:12 p.m., a spokesman of the Department of Corrections told Reuters in an email. No other information was immediately available.

Ray’s imam, Yusef Maisonet, watched the execution from an adjoining witness room, multiple media reports said, including the Birmingham News.

Ray’s execution was to have been temporarily delayed because he asked his imam to replace the chaplain in the death chamber.

On Wednesday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to stay the 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.

Reporting by Bill Tarrant and Rich McKay; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Clarence Fernandez

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