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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Birthday cake for death row man
Kenny Richey PA
Karen Richey outside the American consulate in Edinburgh
Human rights campaigners have marked death row Scot Kenny Richey's 40th birthday by taking a cake to the American consulate in Edinburgh.

Richey has been on death row in the US since 1987 after he was convicted of killing a child in a fire.

He is awaiting the outcome of his final appeal against the sentence.

Three pipers in full Highland dress led a delegation, including Richey's partner Karen, to the consulate to hand in more than 1,000 birthday cards.

'New evidence'

Representatives from Amnesty International and human rights charity Reprieve held the event to raise awareness of Richey's case.

Supporters say that since his conviction, evidence has emerged casting serious doubt on his guilt.

Amnesty International, which has called his situation "one of the most compelling cases of apparent innocence we have ever come across" is urging the Ohio state authorities to allow him the opportunity to have fresh evidence heard.

We're not asking for Kenny just to walk free, but to get justice by having a retrial where he can prove he is innocent.
Karen Richey
Richey's partner
If that happens, his case could be re-tried or a re-sentencing hearing allowed.

Cecile Shea, the US Consul General to Scotland, came out personally and told Richey's supporters she had followed the case closely, but insisted his fate lay with the American courts rather than with government.

Ms Shea, who promised to get the cards to Richey in Ohio, replied: "As you know, this is currently in the state courts and, even if and when it reaches the federal courts, it won't be an executive branch issue.

"But I have followed the case very closely and I appreciate that you are remaining active and doing what you believe is right, as I appreciate the work that Amnesty does all around the world."

Ms Richey, who uses Richey's name, said her partner was depressed and tired when she spoke to him on the eve of his birthday on Monday.

It was "vital" the UK Government urged the US authorities to ensure the new evidence was heard in court, she said.

Kenny Richey
Kenny Richey has been on death row for 17 years
The 41-year-old, from Cambuslang, outside Glasgow, said: "We've got arson experts from Australia and America, top people, who say that this fire was not arson, it was a furniture fire.

"We've been waiting a while for a decision from the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and it could come back at any time - weeks, months maybe.

"If they refuse to hear the fresh evidence we'll go to the Supreme Court, but they very rarely overturn a decision made in this court.

"So everything is resting on this appeal. It's vital that the government gets involved now, to ask that Kenny be treated fairly and has a new trial.

"We're not asking for Kenny just to walk free, but to get justice by having a retrial where he can prove he is innocent."

Last month, more than 200 MPs and MSPs registered their support for Richey at the US Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.




SEE ALSO:
Show of support for death row man
14 Jul 04  |  Scotland
MSP appeal to save death row Scot
06 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Final appeals for death row Briton
27 Feb 04  |  Scotland
Death row Scot pressure grows
20 Feb 04  |  Scotland
Death row Scot continues fight
27 Jan 04  |  Scotland


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