2003 Clemency Effort

June 2003


Dear Governor Bredesen,

Why is the State of Tennessee planning to execute Abu Ali Abdur'Rahman when there are very real, very basic questions about his case that have never been addressed by the courts?

Why would we execute Abu Ali when the only evidence that he killed the victim is the word of his codefendant?

Why did the prosecutor make a deal for a lighter sentence with this codefendant when the physical evidence, which was withheld from the jury, indicated that he, not Abu Ali, was the most likely assailant? Further, this codefendant altered his sworn statements significantly to try and incriminate Abu Ali...is this how our courts work?

Why would we execute Abu Ali when his trial counsel, who has since been disbarred, literally did nothing in preparation for the trial, presented no defense when substantial defenses were available and called no witnesses? Further, at sentencing, this attorney presented none of the abundant mitigating evidence that was available...is this a fair trial?

Why would we execute Abu Ali when the prosecutor, who has repeatedly been sanctioned by the state courts and the Board of Professional Responsibility, withheld favorable evidence from the defense and the jury? Further, the prosecutor misrepresented vital information to Abu Ali's defense counsel, the trial court and the jury regarding his mental history, his character and his involvement in the crime...is this justice?

Why would we execute Abu Ali when 8 of the 12 jurors, after hearing the evidence that was not presented during the trial, have come forward and publicly expressed doubts about their verdict and sentence? Further, they've expressed their resentment at not being told the truth about this crime and this defendant...why don't we listen to them?

The real questions are: does it matter that Abu Ali has never had his day in court? Does it matter that Abu Ali has never had a fair trial?

It matters to us. Please grant clemency to Abu Ali.