Letter: Crime and punishment in the State of Georgia

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Sir: I find it hard not to take issue with the stance of British diplomats who have argued that there are no grounds for the Prime Minister to intervene in an attempt to save Nicholas Ingram from the electric chair.

Mr Ingram stands convicted by due process of law of an appalling crime, but reading the newspaper reports about the case over the last few days, it is clear that doubts about the evidence for his conviction remain. And surely, in a civilised world, whatever one's views about the death penalty as a means of punishment, it ought to be absolutely unthinkable to proceed with the execution of a person while there remains any question whatsoever as to their guilt. If Mr Ingram is innocent, his execution would be a crime as great as that of which he stands accused.

Aside from this is the agony that Mrs Ingram is now suffering - and which will ever scar her life if her son is executed. No mother deserves this anguish. I cannot see that it can ever be wrong to urge humanitarianism and compassion; these are qualities which should inform all human action regardless of international boundaries.

Many appeals for clemency to be shown to Mr Ingram have been sent by members of Amnesty international and other Human Rights groups. If any readers would like to make a plea themselves, but are unsure how, the Georgia Board of Pardons can be contacted by phone (001 404 656 5651).

Yours sincerely,



South Yorkshire

4 April