Mark Stroman executed last night in Texas

July 21, 2011

Reprieve is sorry to report that Mark Stroman was executed at 2053 local time last night in Huntsville, Texas, after the state refused to allow his surviving victim to forgive him in person.

Mr Stroman was sentenced to death for a series of shootings in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Texas executed Mr Stroman despite heroic efforts by the surviving victim Rais Bhuiyan to save his life.

Mr Buihan forgave Mark Stroman many years ago and pleaded with the state to allow him to meet his attacker before his death, as part of his healing process and rights enshrined in the Texas Victims Bill of Rights.

However, the state’s professed commitment to victim’s rights has been revealed as hollow after multiple violations during Mr Stroman’s trial in 2002 and since. When Rais Buiyhan took the Governor of Texas to court in order to enforce his right to meet Mark Stroman, he was informed that his rights under the Bill were “merely symbolic”. Subsequently, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles treated an urgent submission from Mr Bhuiyan with apparent contempt, rejecting his plea for clemency and simply ignoring his urgent request to appear before them.

The state’s heartless treatment of an innocent victim makes a mockery of its much-mentioned respect for the dignity and rights of survivors of violent crime, and raises serious questions about who the execution of Mark Stroman was for.

Reprieve’s lawyers and investigators have been inspired by Rais Bhuiyan’s extraordinary courage and compassion and his efforts to make the world a better place. Last night our team reported from Huntsville:

“When I saw Mark, he was calm and peaceful. He said he knew Rais gave it a great, great fight. He said no one has ever done this much for him ever. He encouraged Rais to go on in his heroic efforts, changing the world, and changing Texans.

“After hearing his lawyer’s and Rais’s petitions for a stay of execution were all denied, Mark listened, and said, ” hey, no worries. Love you guys. Don’t worry. Thank you for everything.””

At the time of his death, Mark Stroman joined Rais Bhuiyan in saying that hate in the world needed to end, and asked for God’s grace.Tineke Harris, Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty team, said:“Rais Bhuiyan’s remarkable legal action was, to my knowledge, the first time ever in US death penalty history that a surviving victim sought a stay of execution for his attacker, going all the way to the US Supreme Court.”Last night, the US courts missed a unique opportunity to make a historic ruling on victim’s rights. I hope that the public debate on the rights of victims, initiated by Rais’ heroic efforts, will continue and will result in changes to how Rais and others like him are treated – changes which the courts and the State of Texas were sadly unwilling to make when they had the chance.”