We, the Community of Sant’Egidio in the United States, express our sorrow and indignation over the cruel execution of John Ferguson on Monday, August 5, 2013 in Florida. John, a 65-year old man who had been in prison for 35 years, was suffering from a severe form of mental illness, which was diagnosed well before the occurrence of the crime. His legal case demanded a more humane treatment and consideration, and his execution flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s decision banning the execution of the mentally incompetent.
The State of Florida has already put five people to death since the beginning of this year, and the harshness of this execution suggests that they arise not so much from the need to meet the demands of justice, but rather from the cynical calculations made to score political points. Faced with such an alarming escalation, Sant'Egidio reminds everyone that death can never bring justice to any society--only reconciliation and restoration can.
In October 2012, John Ferguson even had his execution postponed, when a Florida court held that the issues raised by his lawyers--according to whom, the man had "no rational perception of the conviction and its effects"--deserved "full and deep consideration.” Yet his is the twenty-third execution in the United States this year. In light of these figures, we urge the international community to make decisive steps towards a global moratorium on executions, as requested recently by the representatives of ninety countries belonging to the World Coalition against the death penalty, which gathered in Madrid, June 2013.
To this end, remembering John and all those executed by state-sponsored violence, we are committed to work and join forces with all those who desire a better world for themselves and for the generations to come.