Alabama Death Row inmate given Quran after asking courts

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( — An Alabama Death Row inmate set to die Thursday night was given access to the holy book of Islam after his lawyers argued in a recent court filing that the inmate spent the last two nights without it.

A document filed late Wednesday to U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins says Domineque Ray, an inmate who is scheduled to be executed Thursday night., hasn’t been allowed to have a Quran in the death watch cell. On Thursday, the lawyers declared that motion moot and said the Alabama Department of Corrections provided Ray a Quran early Thursday morning.

“Mr. Ray has been deprived of access to the central and most important text of his religion during what are likely to be his last two nights on Earth,” the filing states.

Ahead of a scheduled execution, the ADOC moves the condemned inmate to a cell near the execution chamber, called a death watch cell. According to the filing, Ray was without his Quran since being moved into that cell on Tuesday.

According to a filing Thursday morning by Ray’s attorneys, the ADOC gave Ray a Quran early Thursday. “This morning counsel for [ADOC] Commissioner [Jefferson] Dunn... instructed ADOC officials to provide Mr. Ray with access to a Quran. Undersigned counsel has now confirmed that, this morning, Mr. Ray was provided with access to a Q’uran," the filing says.

“Although the serious violation that has occurred cannot be undone, he would like access to a Quran as soon as possible,” the earlier document states. If the ADOC believes Ray’s personal Quran would be a security risk, the filing says, the department could provide him with an institutional copy.

The filing says Ray was permitted to bring his prayer rug into the death watch cell. An ADOC spokesperson said Thursday, “The Quran and other items are available to the inmate just outside his holding cell where correctional officers can obtain and deliver the items to the inmate upon request. The inmate was given the Quran at his request.”

The execution, scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, was stayed by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday afternoon after Ray’s lawyers claimed his religious freedom was being violated. Following the stay, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to lift the stay to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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