UPDATE June 15
CLEVELAND: An Ohio judge has ruled a condemned killer not mentally competent to be executed for the death of his wife and brother-in-law.
The ruling Friday by Cuyahoga County Judge Stuart Friedman on Abdul Awkal comes just a week after Gov. John Kasich ordered a last-minute reprieve hours before Awkal was set to die.
Awkal is convicted of killing his estranged wife and brother-in-law in a Cleveland courthouse in 1992 as the couple prepared to divorce.
Awkal’s attorneys had argued during several days of testimony that he is so mentally ill he believes the CIA is orchestrating his execution.
The Ohio Parole Board voted 8-1 last month against recommending mercy. Most members concluded Awkal had planned the shooting and it wasn’t because of a psychotic breakdown.
UPDATE : June 5 2012 Source : http://www.abc6onyourside.com
Inmate Moved for Death Penalty to be Carried Out
COLUMBUS — Ohio prison officials are beginning their preparations to execute a man convicted in the 1992 slayings of his estranged wife and brother-in-law at a courthouse in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County.
If put to death, 53-year-old Abdul Awkal would be the second man Ohio executes since lifting an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty that lasted six months.
Awkal, whose execution is Wednesday, was sentenced to death for shooting Latife Awkal, his spouse from an arranged marriage, and brother-in-law Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz, as the couple was taking up divorce and custody issues.
Awkal’s attorneys asked the state Supreme Court Monday to delay the execution to allow a hearing on Awkal’s mental competency.
The state opposes the delay and Awkal’s earlier requests for clemency were denied.
Source : http://www.examiner.com
Abdul Awkal is on Ohio’s death row and scheduled to be executed on June 26, 2012. His story is unusual. His life prior to being sentenced to death for murder, was complicated, not only by much of his own doing. His circumstances were perhaps more because of his lack of education, lack of knowledge of his own Islamic religion, and limited mastery of the English language.
Awkal was born on March 10, 1959 in Beirut, Lebanon into a Muslim family, the third child of seven siblings. As the article develops, you will see that his crime was committed on January 8, 1992 and he was placed on Ohio’s death row on January 8, 1993.
For those who are familiar with the past several decades in Lebanon, it is easily understood that life was not only difficult, but dangerous as well. Times became hard for the Awkals and the father decided to move his family to America. When they left, Abdul had to stay since he was 20 years old and had to arrange for his own passport. He followed them four years later.
Shortly after coming here he married Latife, having two ceremonies, one under the Islamic law and another under the Laws of the United States. He and Latife later had a baby daughter. His married life was not a smooth one, and according to his own testimony, he was divorced three times (under the Islamic rules but remarried her later). Finally at one point, due to what his brother-in-law called a breach of Islamic law, he was automatically separated from his wife forever and could not raise the child, nor could she wear his name.
He reported that they withdrew his funds from the bank, took his collections which were in a safety deposit box and otherwise isolated themselves from him. They also decided to move back to Lebanon. Needless to say, this did not set well with Awkal and he appealed to the U.S. authorities.
In 1992, it was arranged for them to gather and meet with officials of the Family Conciliation Services at the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. His brother-in law, Mahmoud, wife Latife and their baby were there. After waiting a considerable time, a disagreement arose and when it was over, he had shot and killed his brother and his wife. He was apprehended at the scene.
He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. He was placed on death row exactly one year after the crime was committed.
On January 29, 2001, Awkal wrote a very lengthy letter of confession to the U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent. It makes no denial of his killing the pair, but his life and the many exigencies which occurred to him, does create somewhat of a sympathy towards the fellow. It can change one’s opinion from feeling towards him as a cold blooded killer to that of a victim of circumstances. Yet, regardless of how moved one may be by his writing, it must be remembered that it still was not cause for the killing of two people. It is suggested that all who read this article, set aside enough time to read the site containing his confession. But be prepared to spend somewhere between 30 – 60 minutes. It will probably prove to be worth it.
May 23 Source : http://www.daytondailynews.com
A federal judge has rejected claims by two condemned Ohio inmates challenging the constitutionality of the state’s lethal injection process.The two are the next inmates scheduled to die in the state, with Abdul Awkal (ab-DUHL’ AW’-kuhl) set for execution June 6 and John Eley (EE’-lee) set to die July 26.
Introduction to “Ohio’s Death Row Confession”:
I feel as if my whole life had been the companion of pain and suffering.
Surely had a very little happiness in it, which had been dragging me around the world from places of horror and misery, to places of unjust and cruelty.
I was born to a Muslim family in Beirut, Lebanon. I was the third child of seven. We all lived in a two room’s house. Life was uneasy for my father. So he took me out of school before I finish my 4th grade. I started to work with him, for a short while, tell he found me another place to work at. In short, I worked in many different places.
I was 16 years old when the civil war started in 1975. Life there becomes unbearable and was filled with pain and suffering. And because of this , my father started looking for a better place to live in. so, America was his place of choice.
My family went to America 4 years ahead of me. I had to stay behind because I was 20 years old and had to apply for my own immigration visa.
Four years later, my family called me from America. They told me to go down to the American embassy, and to bring with me my passport and fifty American dollar, to pay for the cost of immigration visa and have it stamped on my passport.
Before going to the embassy, I asked my uncle if he knew anyone works inside the embassy, that could help me get inside the building quickly, instead of standing long hours under the heat of the sun. my uncle responded saying, “ Yes, I do know someone works there.” Then he directed me to go to the other side of the building and to knock on the door there. A man will open the door. Tell him that my uncle is going to Italy and will bring back a leather shoes for you. Anyhow, I did what my uncle said me to do. But the man ( I forgot his name) won’t let me in, because the ambassador wasn’t there to stamp my visa. He asked me to come back tomorrow. So, I left the place with anger and frustration, but as soon as I had crossed the street and sat in my car and started to pull out of the parking space by the side of the road, a tremendous explosion went off behind me. It shook up everything in the area. And without any hesitation, I ducked my head down and pushed the pedal to the metal and speed away without knowing where the explosion was. But as soon as I got home, and before I had a chance to sit on the couch, someone was knocking on my door very hard. I opened the door to see what’s going on there. I found my downstairs neighbor at the door saying to me, with fear in her eyes, “Have you seen my husband ? !””Have you seen my husband?!” I respond back saying, “What?!” “Where is your husband?”
She told me that her husband works at the American embassy and someone had just blew it up!!
As soon as I heard her saying this, I could no longer stand up on my own two feet and my face turned yellow. I never knew that her husband work at the embassy.
But a few minutes later, my neighbor came back to tell me that her husband was in East Lebanon with the ambassador. Anyhow, it took me a few days to digest what had just happened to me !! And not to mentioned that God had already saved me from death 12 times like this, and I am always grateful for His mercy and His protection.
I want everyone to know that I am very ashamed in exposing my marital problem and the way that those people had used my religion (Islam) wrongfully to destroy me and to take my child away from me.
My intention in revealing my confession letter to you is to tell the truth about my case and not to disrespect my own religion or any other religions. But if I unintentionally did so, I profoundly apologize for it in advance and I ask the Lord for His forgiveness.
December 25, 2011
Dear friends, family and supporters;
For the last 10 years now, I have been searching for assistance from the outside world,to expose the injustice I have been suffering at the hand of the state of Ohio. However,I believe this search has been restricted by a number of individuals, including, but not limited to my lawyers, prison Administrators, Central Office, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor (Mr. Bill Mason), and the local television media. Because my time is numbered, due to an impending execution date of June 6, 2012, I grew I wish to express my most deepest apologies to anyone that I may have offended by this…Because of my extreme sense of urgency involved in my impending execution date, I feltI also felt it was important to communicate with the victim’s family (Ali Abdul-Aziz andOn January 5, 2011, I sent a kite to Mrs. Thorne asking what steps I need to take to initiate the dialogue? And her reply was as follows:
NO! It is a victim initiation only – You can write an apology letter and send it to me-Mrs. Thorne.
Because I had no one to assist me, my lawyers do not communicate with me, and nor my family Now that I have been blessed with someone willing and able to assist me in posting my confession letter and allowing the world to know what really happened, I am very grateful. In order for me to be fair and impartial, I will post on my website those profane In about a month I plan on posting several items for the world to review and consider. I ask for your patience and understanding. And I truly do appreciate your time and