UK Parliamentarians join EU and Catholic Church in opposing Manuel Valle execution

August 26, 2011

British Members of Parliament have today joined the European Union and Catholic bishops in calls to stop the execution of Cuban national Manuel Valle from going ahead in Florida on September 6. An influential cross-party group of UK MPs and members of the House of Lords has written to Governor Rick Scott, urging him to commute the sentence of Mr Valle, a 63 year-old who has been on death row for over three decades, to life imprisonment. The British lawmakers are the latest body to join calls opposing the execution of Mr Valle. Last week, the EU’s Ambassador to the US wrote to the Governor of Florida, to “make an urgent humanitarian appeal on behalf of Mr Valle”, while Florida’s Catholic bishops have also called on Governor Scott to commute Mr Valle’s sentence to life imprisonment. Europe is alarmed by the absence of a meaningful clemency process in Mr Valle’s case, with Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida describing it as a “great concern” for the EU, and the British lawmakers stating that it “violates international minimum standards of due process.” They also cite concerns over the use of a new execution drug, pentobarbital, which may cause extreme and unnecessary pain and suffering to Mr Valle, and his prolonged, 33 year period of imprisonment on death row. The UK Parliamentarians add that “prolonged incarceration on death row amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and violates international human rights law”. The Spanish Consul General in Miami has also written to Governor Scott concerning the issue of clemency for Mr Valle, who has strong family links to Spain. Meanwhile, Washington-DC based watchdog the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has urged the US to stay the execution while it investigates a range of concerns, including the apparent failure to provide Mr Valle with consular access and the possibility that a new execution drug may cause him intense pain and suffering. Katherine Bekesi, an investigator for legal action charity Reprieve said: “Governor Scott must not ignore the growing chorus of international opposition to the impending execution of Manuel Valle. To proceed with an execution when there have been so many legal violations in this case would irreparably damage the global reputation of both Florida and the US.” ENDS Notes to editors 1. For further information please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: / +44 (0)20 7427 1082 2. The letters to Governor Scott from the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on the Death Penalty and from the European Union can be found on Reprieve’s website.  3. Further information on the Catholic bishops’ appeal to Governor Scott can be found here. 4. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights wrote to the US Government concerning the case of Manuel Valle in the past week. 5. Manuel Valle, a Cuban national with strong Spanish links, is being assisted by legal action charity Reprieve’s EC Project. Further information on his case can be found on Reprieve’s website.