FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2002 HUNTSVILLE, TX -
Execution of Toronto Patterson - Juvenile, Age 17 at time of offense
Toronto Patterson is scheduled to die Wednesday, August 28, 2002 for a
crime that occurred in Dallas when he was only 17 years old.
admits participation in the burglary leading up to the offense, but
maintains that he was not the killer. The jury never heard evidence
that the incriminating statement attributed to Toronto was taken by the
same detective who extracted a false confession from another youthful
capital murder suspect, just a month later.
The Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty has maintained a
personal webpage for Toronto Patterson since 1998. The page includes
poetry, his writings, and a request for assistance through
correspondence. The Canadian human rights group's webpage also maintains
links to information on his case, legal appeals and documentation, as
well as news and photographs.
With the Toronto Patterson execution set for August 28th - the third
juvenile execution in Texas this year; the eyes of the world are again
focused on Texas and Governor Perry's lack of accountability on this
diplomatically sensitive issue. The lack of adherence to
internationally accepted standards and principles is fueling a growing
movement both inside and outside the US to act against the State of
Texas. Calls for a tourist boycott have been renewed; and initiatives
are being pursued for further economic and diplomatic initiatives.
Last week Governor Perry ignored an invitation to witness the execution
of Gary Etheridge, extended by the condemned's wife Claudia, a German
national. The invitation was extended to him as an opportunity to
witness the procedure that he is so vehement in supporting. The
previous week, Mexican President Vincente Fox canceled his US visit in
protest of the execution of a Mexican citizen after Perry ignored the
international outcry and Fox's personal appeals. More and more
this issue is on the agenda of the international community.
Iran and the United States are the only two countries in the world that
actually continue to execute juvenile offenders. Every other country
the world has given up this practice - even nations with a deplorable
reputation for continued human rights abuses; such as Nigeria; China and
Saudi Arabia will no longer execute anyone convicted of an offense
before the age of 18.
"Although Texas claims that seventeen year olds are not considered
juveniles under Texas law, they are not of age to consume alcohol
tobacco products or other adult materials; are not eligible to vote
or fully participate in the political process," says the Canadian
Coalition's Dave Parkinson. Under the law, a seventeen year old does
NOT have the same rights or responsibilities as an adult; and in
Thompson V Oklahoma, the Supreme Court has already endorsed the
proposition that less culpability should attach to a crime committed by
a juvenile than to a comparable crime committed by an adult.
"If seventeen year old Toronto Patterson had been facing these charges
in any other country in the world, (except Iran) he would not be facing
a death sentence, " says Tracy Lamourie, also of the Canadian group,
"We call upon Governor Perry, and the Texas Board of Pardons and
Paroles, to take a serious look at the false statements and other issues
in Toronto Patterson's case, and also to consider the concerns of
the international community; and then to commute Toronto Patterson to a
sentence less than death."
with Toronto Patterson
For more information on Toronto Patterson, visit his personal webpage
or contact :
CANADIAN COALITION AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
Toronto Ontario, 416-693-9112 email@example.com
Royal Danish Embassy
Chairman Gerald Garrett
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Executive Clemency Section
PO Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711
29 July 2002
Dear Chairman Garrett,
The European Union has learnt that Mr. Toronto Patterson is to be executed
in the State of Texas on August 28, 2002. On behalf of the European Union,
Denmark, as current President, together with Greece, the subsequent President,
and the European Commission would like to make an urgent humanitarian appeal
to spare the life of Mr. Patterson.
As stated in the EU memorandum on the Death Penalty, which has been shared
with you on previous occasions (it can also be found on the web page: www.eurunion.org/legislat/deathpenalty/eumemorandum.htm),
the European Union opposes the death penalty in all cases and accordingly
aims at its universal abolition, seeking a global moratorium on the death
penalty as a first step.
Mr. Patterson was 17 years old at the time of the crime, for which he has
been sentenced to death. The European Union considers that in those countries,
which have not yet abolished the death penalty, this penalty should not be
imposed on persons under the age of 18 at the time of the crime.
The EU strongly believes that the execution of juvenile offenders is contrary
to widely accepted human rights norms and the minimum standards of human rights
set forth by the United Nations. A significant number of treaties, including
treaties signed and ratified by the United States, prohibit such executions,
specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
and the American Convention on Human Rights. Article 6 of the ICCPR – to
which the United States is a party – explicitly forbids the execution of
We therefore respectfully urge you, Chairman, as we have also urged the
Governor of Texas, to take these factors into account and to exercise all
the powers vested in your office to grant Mr. Patterson relief from the death
Ulrik Federspiel Elefthenos Anghelopoulos Gérard Depayre
Ambassador of Denmark Chargé d'affaires, a.i.
Embassy of Greece Chargé d'affaires, a.i.
Delegation of the European Commission
Danish Presidency July 25, 2002 statement at Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council meeting.
Royal Danish Embassy
3200 Whitehaven Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008-3683
(202) 234-4300 Fax (202) 328-1470