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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 10:27 GMT
Schwarzenegger in Austrian spat
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Mr Schwarzenegger faces re-election in 2006
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has hit back at his Austrian home town Graz after officials criticised his death penalty stance.

Mr Schwarzenegger demanded that Graz stop using his name for a sports stadium and sent back a "ring of honour" bestowed on him in 1999.

His denial of clemency to death row inmate Stanley Tookie Williams angered members of the Graz assembly.

The stadium was renamed in honour of Mr Schwarzenegger in 1997.

Mr Schwarzenegger, a former champion bodybuilder and Hollywood star, sent a letter to the mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, after politicians in the city launched a petition drive to rename the stadium.

As the official Graz appears to no longer accept me as one of their own, this ring has lost its meaning and value to me - it is already in the mail
Arnold Schwarzenegger
In the letter, he said he had decided to spare the Graz city council "further concern" should he be forced to make other clemency decisions while serving as California's governor.

Another such decision is looming, as a 75-year-old inmate is scheduled to be executed on 17 January.

"In all likelihood, during my term as governor, I will have to make similar and equally difficult decisions," Mr Schwarzenegger said in the letter.

"In order to spare the responsible politicians of the city of Graz further concern, I withdraw from them as of this day the right to use my name in association with the Liebenauer Stadium."

Referring to the Graz "ring of honour," Mr Schwarzenegger said that as "the official Graz appears to no longer accept me as one of their own, this ring has lost its meaning and value to me. It is already in the mail."



SEE ALSO
US ex-gang boss Williams executed
13 Dec 05 |  Americas
Schwarzenegger plans in poll test
08 Nov 05 |  Americas
Schwarzenegger axes gay marriage
30 Sep 05 |  Americas
Schwarzenegger seeks re-election
16 Sep 05 |  Americas
Schwarzenegger drops media deal
16 Jul 05 |  Americas

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