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The BBC's Tom Carver
"Those who watched his final moments described him as calm"
 real 56k

The BBC's David Willis
"It has been a day of very raw emotion here"
 real 56k

Linda Cavanaugh and Rex Huppke
journalists who witnessed the execution
 real 56k

The BBC's Nick Bryant
"The images sent down secure phone lines [were] graphic"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 05:16 GMT 06:16 UK
Europe criticises McVeigh execution
Amnesty International supporters in Madrid
First stop: Bush can expect protesters in Madrid
European leaders condemned the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as cruel and barbaric ahead of George W Bush's first visit to the continent as president.

Criticism came from several sources including the Swedish Government, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.


The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been given not vengeance but justice

President Bush
Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said the EU regretted the continued use of capital punishment in the US, and would be voicing its concerns at a summit with Mr Bush in Gothenburg later this week.

McVeigh died by lethal injection at 0714 local time (1214GMT) on Monday, six years after killing 168 people in the worst-ever peacetime attack on US soil.

The 33-year-old was the first federal prisoner to be executed for 38 years.


Timothy McVeigh was a cold-blooded murderer. He will not be missed. But the way he died was sad, pathetic and wrong

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Mr Bush called the execution "the severest sentence for the gravest of crimes".

"The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been given not vengeance but justice," he said in a statement at the White House.

Mr Bush starts his European tour in Madrid on Tuesday. The visit is already controversial because of European anger at Washington's abandoning of the Kyoto protocol on the environment.

Critics

European critics of capital punishment called the execution a vengeful, morally unjustifiable way of making McVeigh pay for his crime.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh
McVeigh: No new pictures of him were released before the execution
In a statement, the German Government said it opposed McVeigh's execution on "fundamental principle".

"By executing the first federal death row prisoner in nearly four decades, the USA has allowed vengeance to triumph over justice and distanced itself yet further from the aspirations of the international community," the London-based human rights group Amnesty International said.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also voiced opposition to the execution.

Relatives hug at Oklahoma City memorial
It was an emotional day for relatives of McVeigh's victims
"It is high time the United States rethought its attitude to the death penalty and aligned its position with the great majority of the free and democratic world," council president Lord Russell-Johnston said.

Antonio Maria Pereira, president of the Portuguese human rights group Law and Justice, denounced the US death penalty as "barbarism inappropriate to our times".

Witnesses

Relatives of victims who died in the attack were among those witnessing the execution in Terre Haute. Other relatives watched in Oklahoma City by closed-circuit television.


I'm glad I live in a country which has made an example of this man

Kathleen Treanor, mother of victim
McVeigh remained silent throughout his execution, but had released the text of William Ernest Henley's poem, Invictus, as his official last words.

"My head is bloody but unbowed," it reads, before concluding: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

Journalists who witnessed the proceedings described how McVeigh made eye contact with each witness, including the relatives, and died with his eyes open.

"He lay there very still," said witness Shepard Smith. "He never said a word."

'Relief' of the relatives

One mother whose four-year-old daughter was among McVeigh's victims greeted his death with relief.


There is nothing reasonable or moral about what we have done today. We have made killing a part of the healing process

McVeigh's lawyer, Robert Nigh
"I'm glad I live in a country which has made an example of this man," said Kathleen Treanor, who watched his death on the television link.

She said his death was like a full-stop at the end of a sentence, but her suffering would not end.

"I don't think anything can bring me peace. I'll never get over the death of my daughter. When I die that's when I'll get closure," she said.

Death penalty opponents
Opponents of the execution wept at the jail
Another relative watching the television pictures, Larry Whicher, said: "I think today our justice system has preserved the freedom of this country."

He added: "[McVeigh] had a look of defiance and if he could do it all again, he would."

McVeigh's lawyer, Robert Nigh, attacked the execution, which he also witnessed.

"There is nothing reasonable or moral about what we have done today," he said.

"We have made killing a part of the healing process."

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See also:

11 Jun 01 | Americas
Defiant McVeigh dies in silence
12 Jun 01 | Europe
Bush faces EU challenge
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