The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement on 18 March on the execution of US citizen Cecil Clayton in the State of Missouri on 17 March:
I am deeply shocked by the execution of Cecil Clayton in Missouri. According to the information available to us, Mr Clayton was seriously mentally impaired at the time of the offence due to an accident which resulted in brain damage.
The United States Supreme Court has declared the execution of persons with mental disabilities/illness unconstitutional, although it leaves the individual states to define the exact assessment criteria.
In this case, the European Union issued a demarche to the Governor of Missouri and called for a suspension of the death penalty on humanitarian grounds.
The death penalty is an inhumane, cruel and immoral form of punishment which has no place in the 21st century. The German Government is opposed to the death penalty whatever the circumstances. It will continue to work with its partners in the European Union to actively push for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.