Executions in 2018: min. 690 plus 'thousands' in China

Twinning Leipzig – Houston, Texas

In his letter to the mayor of Leipzig, Wolfgang Tiefensee, Karl H. Rodenberg, cofounder of the German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, broaches the issue of the twinning between Leipzig – the city of the monday-demonstrations and a city in Texas, the state with the highest number of death penalties and executions in the USA – particularly with the city of Houston/Harris County, which again has the highest rate of death penalties and executions within Texas. Karl Rodenberg, who will again visit several US death rows in October offers members of the Leipzig delegation who will be in Houston Texas at the same time discussions about the death penalty and prison condit in Texas.

Similar letters have been send to the parlimentary groups of the City Council, the twinning committee and the committee for the Olympic …..One copy has been send to the „Leipziger Volkszeitung“. We received answerws from the

SPD Ratsfraktion, the PDS Ratsfraktion and the  Bewerbungskomitee Leipzig 2012 GmbH

Letter

Re.: Twinning Leipzig – Houston, Texas

Date: 12.09.2003

To:
Mr. Mayor Wolfgang Tiefensee
Martin-Luther-Ring 4 – 6
04109 Leipzig

Dear Mr. Mayor,

we've heard that a delegation from Leipzig will visit Houston in October this year.

We are very surprised to hear that Leipzig, the city of Monday Demonstrations and therefor a symbol of the fight for freedom and human rights signed a twinning with a city in Texas, the state with the highest rate of death penalties and executions in the USA, particularly with the city Houston/ Harris County which again has the highest rate of death penalties and executions within Texas.

George W. Bush, governor of the state Texas 1994 – 2000 and now president of the USA, is responsible for 152 executions in Texas and three executions during his presidentship for prisoners convicted by the federal courts which his predecessor abandoned.

We want to draw your attention as well to the following facts:

  • Since the death penalty has been reintroduced in 1976 in the USA 875 prisoners habe been executed since the resumption of executions on January 17th 1977, 310 of those (approximately 36%) in Texas
  • since the resumption there on December 7th 1982, 71 of those from Harris County (approximately 23%) where to date 158 persons have been sentenced to death.
  • Amongst those who have been executed are innocent, mentally handicapped, insane and juvenile offenders whos execution is outlawed by the International Convention on the Rights of Children (ICRC) which hasn't been ratified by the USA as the only state on the world, and the International Covention on civil and political rights which has been signed by the USA under a inlegal reserve.
  • Foreigners have been sentenced to death und executed without being granted the right to contact the their country's embassy. (Infringement of the Vienna convention regarding consular rights (WÜK/VCCR) dated 1963, which has been signed and ratified by the USA).
  • On death rows of the 38 US-states which have the death penalty und on the Federal death row are currently 4.000 inmates.
  • In this year 55 convicted persons have been excecuted so far.
  • The highest number of anual executions took place in 2000: 98, of which 40 were in Texas; that year the governor of Texas was standing for election as president.
  • The USA has got the world's highest population of prisoners. More than 2 million people are incarcerated in state prisons, plus prisoners of county jails and those who have been released under conditions of probation there are more than 3 million prisoners.
  • The living conditions – especially those on death row – do not meet the minimum requirement of the UN regarding the treatment of prisoners by any means and would'nt even meet the the terms of the US animal rights laws act in a lot of cases.

The undersigned will be in Texas to visit inmates on death row from October 19th – October 31th and from November 9th until November 13th 2003. I will be available for members of the delegation from Leipzig to talk about the death penalty situation in the USA and especially in Texas. If you wish with colleagues of our partner organisations in Texas, pastors or other visitors from Europe. We could meet in Livingston if you wish, where the Polunsky Unit is located or in Huntsville, the place of the death house Walls Unit. Both cities are about an hours drive from Houston and easily to be reached driving the I-45 (Huntsville) or Hwy 59 (Livingston).

I would appriciate an answer prior to my departure on October 15th.

Best regards
Karl H. Rodenberg
(co-founder and honorary chairman of the German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty)
encl. Leaflet of the GCADP

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