North America

US prisons reaping profit from executions: Lawyer


Press TV has conducted an interview with Alfred Lambremont Webre, international lawyer from Vancouver, about three convicted killers in US states of Florida, Georgia and Missouri facing executions within a 24-hour period.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Well there was a short stay but now we see that there is going to be three executions very shortly. Let’s look at this, what is the rush as for as with the American system in not giving a time to actually find out about the drugs that are being used in these lethal injections? Why are they in a rush to continue these executions?

Webre: That is a very, very good question. The US constitution has a prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment” and that is what the attorneys for these prisoners are arguing because of the European boycott which incidentally many of the states are now drifting over to the European standard in a way from the death penalty as is public opinion in the United States, so that the states that are still retaining the death penalty find themselves in the minority.

But for example in Georgia, Georgia is classifying the method that by which they intend to put to death Marcus Wellons and we do not have the latest information at this time “as a state secret”.

And the plans that they have had so far is to put him to death they said at 7 pm eastern time “using a single massive doze of the barbiturate pentobarbital.” So I think that they are treating the prisoners like industrial cattle and I think that this rates with the darkest impulses in the American justice system and along with the for-profit prisons and that is why the United States has the largest prison population. They are probably getting paid a great deal for the executions and so they are looking at the bottom line as you know probably gives them more profit. That would be my guess.
Press TV: With the pay you just mentioned pay for profit prisons and as I am looking at the picture of the three individuals who are set to be executed next day happen to all be African-American and we know that the majority of prisoners in the United States are actually African-American especially when we compare the statistics as for as the percentage of the overall population.

My main question is being that the United States always talks about human rights and talks about equality, when we look at the prison system overall and we see the problems and the vast differences as for as prison population compared to the overall population, why isn’t there being more done by human rights groups and others to actually look at this lack of what appears to be equality especially in the prison system?

Webre: Well there have been many studies done in all of the states most notably in New York on the issue of racial profiling that uniformly show that there is racial profiling and that that is why racial groups such as blacks are disproportionally represented there and this is again a part of a targeted depopulation program against the blacks. There are more blacks in prison than they are in schools or in higher learning and it is a way of depopulating and I would say it meets the definition of genocide under the Geneva Conventions.

Now as to why this is not being taken up on war crimes at the ICC for which I believe that there would be a case, that is a good question.

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