News & Politics

In the U.S., Veterans Come Home From War Only To See Relatives Executed By the State

"I can go fight in another country to uphold peace and liberty ... but I can't uphold peace, liberty, and equality for my own brother."

Editor's note: Reginald Blanton was executed on Tuesday, Oct. 27th, pronounced dead at 6:21pm.

28-year-old Reginald Blanton is scheduled to die tonight in Texas, despite the very real possibility that he is innocent. This morning, his brother, Andre Bios, appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss his brother's impending execution.

Bios is an Iraq vet; he served in the 1991 Gulf War. Speaking to Amy Goodman and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Bios described the cruel irony of having devoted himself to supposedly defending democratic ideals on behalf of his country, only to have his brother sentenced to die at the hands of the state:

Amy Goodman: Andre, you’re about to visit your brother. Are you going to be, if in fact he is executed, one of the witnesses to the execution?
Andre Bios: Yes, I am. It was one of the things that I did not want to do, but he has been requesting over and over again for me to be there ...
And the reason why I didn’t want to witness what was getting ready to happen to my brother is because it’s like a slap in my face from my own country, you know? His constitutional rights were violated, but yet I can go overseas and fight in another country to uphold peace, liberty, for them to have, but I can’t uphold peace, liberty and equality for my own brother.

Years ago, I had the opportunity to work alongside Monique Matthews, also a veteran, and the sister of Ryan Matthews, an African American teenager who was sentenced to death in Louisiana for a crime that he didn't commit. Ryan was exonerated in 2004, but I can still remember the sense of betrayal in his sister's voice as she described the hypocrisy -- and the racism that led to his wrongful conviction.

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet's Rights and Liberties and World Special Coverage.
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