Appeals court blocks Alabama execution of Muslim inmate
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal appeals court has stayed the execution of a Muslim inmate in Alabama who says the state is violating his religious rights by not allowing an imam at his lethal injection.
The 11th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay Wednesday, a day before the scheduled lethal injection of Dominique Ray.
Members of a three-judge panel wrote that it appears the state's position violates freedom of religion protections.
Alabama lets inmates have a spiritual adviser witness the execution from an adjoining room. A Christian chaplain typically stays in the execution chamber.
The state agreed with Ray's request that no chaplain be present, but cited security reasons for why it would not allow an imam in the chamber.
Ray was convicted in the 1995 fatal stabbing of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville.
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