Why European countries are tweeting Alabama’s governor


In this file photo from Nov. 6, 2018, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey speaks to supporters after winning the election at a watch party in Montgomery, Alabama. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is getting an earful on Twitter, but not from her constituents.

In Twitter posts made over the last day, the ambassadors of Belgium and France and the embassies of Slovakia, Italy, Denmark and Spain have tweeted at Ivey to express their concerns over the execution of Matthew Reeves by the State of Alabama.

“We express our deepest sympathy & support to the families & friends of the victims but the execution of persons with disabilities is contrary to widely accepted human rights norms & standards,” a post by Italy’s U.S. embassy said.

Reeves is scheduled to be executed Thursday for the 1996 murder of Willie Johnson. While a court order is currently blocking the lethal injection, the state has appealed the ruling.

The social media posts by individual countries’ representatives follow the publication of a letter sent from the European Union to Gov. Ivey about Reeves’ execution.

In that letter, Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU’s ambassador to the U.S., wrote that executing Reeves is “contrary to widely accepted human rights norms and standards.” Ivey should “grant clemency or issue a temporary reprieve” in Reeves’ case, Lambrinidis said.

In a recent ruling in Reeves’ case, a federal district court judge said that Alabama prison officials were “on notice that Reeves had IQ scores in the high 60s or low 70s, sub-average intellectual functioning, and had been found to be functionally illiterate.”

A representative for the governor responded to the EU’s letter by saying that Ivey studies death penalty cases closely.

“As with any case, the governor takes these very seriously and will thoroughly review all of the facts and information,” a spokesperson for Ivey said via email.

Reeves was convicted of murder in 2000. In the murder trial, prosecutors said Willie Johnson gave a ride to Reeves, his brother and some friends. The group robbed Johnson, the state said, and Reeves shot him in the neck. Reeves was 18 at the time.

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