A Cuban will be executed in Florida despite efforts of Spain

28 September 2011

Manuel Valle, a Cuban who has 33 years on death row in Florida (Southeast U.S.), will be executed Wednesday for killing a policeman in 1978, a case that provoked new protests from humanitarian agencies and the intervention to last minute of the government of Spain.

Valle, 61, was convicted of killing a policeman in 1978 in southern Florida and his execution is scheduled for 16H00 local (20H00 GMT).

If realized, would become the first person executed in Florida at which the substance is administered pentobarbital, a drug to treat epilepsy in the United States is used as a component of lethal injections, even though doctors say that its use is unconstitutional.

Representing the government of Spain in the United States intervened at the last minute “matter of principle” to prevent the execution of this man, probably a grandson of Spanish.

“As a matter of principle, we have written yesterday to the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, to try to prevent his execution, even when missing a few hours and no responses have been positive, we do not lose hope,” he told AFP Cristina Barrios Consul General of Spain in Miami.

“We took this case because since our incorporation we are a country that opposes the death penalty,” said the diplomat, indicating that various efforts have been made about the case in recent months.

The application of the death penalty would be a Valle week after the controversial execution of Troy Davis, a black 42 year old who became a symbol of the struggle against capital punishment.

Davis received in Georgia (southeast) a lethal injection after having fought for his innocence to the end in a case full of doubts about his guilt and unprecedented international mobilization.

Amnesty Internacioanl organizations and the American Union for Civil Liberties (ACLU, for its acronym in English) were called for vigils against the executions and to petition the Florida governor to commute the death of Dale.

Barrios said that while his government has “notion that maybe Mr. Valle will have a Spanish grandparent, not for their relationship that we have taken steps to prevent its execution.”

“It was because it is a humanitarian situation. It’s like the principle of government of Spain,” the diplomat reiterated.

When there were more than two hours to run, Valle had received his last meal, fried chicken with rice, and was visited by his daughter, sister, brother and nephews, according to the Florida Department of Justice in a brief statement.

According to this report, “the prisoner was calm” and also met with a Catholic priest.

The neurologist David Nicholl presented on Monday a petition before the Florida Supreme Court to stop the execution of Valle, alleging that the use of the substance pentobarbital by the Florida Department of Corrections is illegal.

According to the doctor, the use of this substance in executions violates the Controlled Substances Act, which prohibits the use of pentobarbital for nonmedical purposes. Moreover, according to other experts, pentobarbital anesthesia does not duly convicted and made more painful agony.

But the Florida Supreme Court dismissed the suit on Tuesday.

Barrios said that in the past two months, has been in contact with the charity Reprieve, based in London, which reported that Valley could not benefit from medical consular rightful Florida because the state did not inform the authorities Cuban detention.