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Victim asks for Germany to help save racist killer

The Local · 6 Jul 2011, 17:44

Published: 06 Jul 2011 17:44 GMT+02:00

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Rais Bhuiyan long ago forgave Mark Ströman, the man who in 11 years ago nearly shot him dead at a petrol station in Dallas, Texas.

But the 37-year-old had a message for Germany while visiting Berlin this week: Don’t let Ströman die.

On July 20, Ströman is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas for killing an Indian man during a robbery a few weeks after Bhuiyan was shot in September 2001.

But his supporters are hoping an international outcry could prompt the Texas governor or courts to reconsider whether Ströman should be killed.

The protest, they say, should include the German government because of Ströman’s ties to Germany – where his father came from.

They want the government to grant Ströman German citizenship and advocate forcefully for him. But it’s Bhuiyan who is really leading the charge.

He’s circled the United States to call for mercy and is now on a last-ditch tour of Europe to try to get governments here to do something, anything to stop the execution.

The odds aren’t good – Texas has largely ignored foreign pressure against the death penalty in the past. But Bhuiyan is relentless.

“I haven’t thought about what I’ll do on July 20 yet,” he said. “I’m just hopeful.”

A brush with death

The shooting happened in a few quick seconds, Bhuiyan remembers. Ströman stormed into the petrol station, carrying a gun. Bhuiyan, figured it was a robbery.

But then came the question: “Where are you from?”

As Ströman fired, the blast from the shotgun scattered more than 30 pellets across Bhuiyan’s face and head.

Blinded in his right eye and bleeding, he pretended to play dead as, in his head, he recited prayers from the Koran.

After he was apprehended, Ströman said he had shot Bhuiyan and murdered two other men he thought were Middle Eastern in a racist rage following the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks. But though Ströman was arrested and sentenced to death, it didn’t end the pain for Bhuiyan, who endured years of plastic surgery and was told by doctors that he would never see again in his right eye.

Still, he found peace, relying on his Muslim faith.

“I decided that his is a human life, like anyone else’s,” Bhuiyan said. “I decided I wanted to do something about this.”

Last year, he decided to take action. He wants to give Ströman the compassion that he did not provide his victims.

A race against time

Ströman’s supporters know they’re in a race against time. But they hope Germany’s clout might make a difference.

It’s not clear if Ströman might be granted German citizenship, or what that might practically mean.

But the chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on Human Rights said Wednesday he was calling on the Texas government to stop the execution.

“We’ve written letters to the governor and not gotten a response” said Tom Koenigs. “We’re trying to make contact with them. This is about human rights and we have a mission to promote these values.”

Story continues below…

Bhuiyan stood sat nearby as Koenigs spoke.

Did he really think the execution could be stopped?

“I do absolutely believe it,” he said. “It may not have happened in the past, but it can happen now.”

Moises Mendoza



The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:58 July 6, 2011 by Bushdiver
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:11 July 6, 2011 by expatriarch
Agree...Germany has no clout or real influence in apparent matters.

I don't see how this is going to be prevented. There is no chance at all that he will not be put to death for killing a wholly different person, in Texas, while its Governor is running for President. Rick Perry may have put at least one innocent person to death and almost another, but not to put someone like this guy to death for something he obviously did, is just not happening. People might as well start putting their efforts towards something that can have a positive impact on the world, not wasting their time fighting an impossible battle for someone who does not deserve it before the many others who do.

This guy made his death bed, now he has to lay in it!
18:21 July 6, 2011 by Englishted
Maybe Allah will save him?
19:07 July 6, 2011 by Patrick4141
In Texas, we kill killers. There is nothing wrong with killing killers, it is just and saves us money. My only problem is that we wait too long before with execute.
19:13 July 6, 2011 by So36
Too bad it doesn't actually save Texas money because of that pesky legal process, eh? Maybe a Muslim can teach some Christians how to turn the other cheek.
19:49 July 6, 2011 by Patrick4141
We don't want to turn the other cheek.
19:53 July 6, 2011 by nemo999
The last execution by electric chair in Texas was 1964. When executions were restarted in Texas, executions are to be by lethal injection.

The bad news is that the Governor of Texas Rick Perry, is running as a republican candidate for President of the United States, and he needs to be Tough on Crime, and Criminals. The Governor is not going to listen to any one, given that this individual was convicted of the crimes, by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. All of his legal appeals are exhausted.

So Mr. S will get his death cocktail injected at the appoint place and time, and about 7 minutes later he will not be in this world. If no one claims the body, he will be buried in the convict grave yard, about 1/2 mile behind the local university. If he is buried there the only people typically in attendance, are an assistant warden, two guards, the prison minister, and 5 to 7 inmates.
20:37 July 6, 2011 by Snapply
Amurikkkan justice.
21:36 July 6, 2011 by anti-arabism
The problem is german ethnic !!
22:01 July 6, 2011 by ibth123
I hope he has a God in his life since that is who he will see once he leaves this earth. The man is guilty for killing people. Who says he won't do it again if he got out? And the obvious question, where was mercy when he killed and send other people to the grave?
06:36 July 7, 2011 by ioann
Yikes, being happy with murder as a punishment sounds quite sicko to me.
07:01 July 7, 2011 by marimay
Yeah, I can't even watch executions in movies.
09:05 July 7, 2011 by T.J. Morton
"We don't want to turn the other cheek." It's nice that the other 25 million plus residents of Texas allow @Patrick4141 to speak for them.

And @ioann, murder is defined as the unlawful, premeditated killing of a person. Since capital punishment is legal in the state of Texas, it doesn't fit the definition of murder. Just in case you wanted to know...
09:10 July 7, 2011 by MfromUSA
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:41 July 7, 2011 by DoubleDTown
if the guy wanted to kill and be free in 5 to 7 years, he should have flown to Germany first.
12:03 July 7, 2011 by ame64
This was not a crime of "passion" or of such, it was cold blooded murder.

We all know the German justice system is a joke, and Germany does more for the criminals as the victims, thats why its hard fro Germans tu understand real justice.

As a member of a modern and civilil society we should act that way, if not we should be punished accordingly.

If this mans guilt is 100% proven, then the death penalty is right. It does save a lot of tax payers money.

I think its good to have real hard justice, thats the only way to show that crime does not pay.
12:42 July 7, 2011 by trash head
USA still in Stone Age, wonder where is the difference between stoning and death penalty in the outcoming.
13:30 July 7, 2011 by wenddiver
Sounds to me like a just sentence. You take a human life you pay with your own. Let us hope that people who aspire to be robbers/murders/rascists will learn from this man's mistake and be better human beings, lest they expire in Texas.

I doubt if the people of Texas give a hot cup of wohoo, what the killers citizenship is, Texas and Florida have consistently proven they can kill killers from around the world. Any miscreant who can not live with our penalty for murdering can stay home or abstain from murder while visiting.

Law and Order, live by it or die by it, your choice, it's the democratic way.
13:35 July 7, 2011 by michael4096
"I think its good to have real hard justice, thats the only way to show that crime does not pay. "

Unfortunately, if you consider the actual end results in the form of facts and figures, it is a wonderful theory but does not work.

"...the difference between stoning and death ..."

As he will be shot full of narcotics, one could say he will be first stoned then killed.

13:37 July 7, 2011 by n230099
Bush made the original error in setting precedent in the acknowledgement of the authority of the "The International Court of Justice" . This error should not be compounded by 0bama recognizing them. Sadly, he believes in that type of nonsense.

Gov. Perry's first obligation is the upholding of his oath of office as the Governor of the State to administer the laws.

Deferring to a cabal of euro-weenies and leftist whack-jobs that inhabit bodies such as the "The International Court of Justice" or U.N. would be an abdication of these responsibilities. They have no authority here.

Secondarily, as others have noted it would be political suicide. The people that are now wringing their hands should have started their efforts sooner. This is a bad year for that.
13:50 July 7, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
Yes, Texas kills killers -- and the mentally retarded, the psychologically incompetent and more than their share of minorities. Only China and Iran kill more. Congratulations, bad-*ss Texans, you are the toughest gringo-weenie right-wing whack-jobs in the western world -- and yeah, yeah, we know you're proud of it.
14:42 July 7, 2011 by ovalle3.14
@wenddiver - "ounds to me like a just sentence. You take a human life you pay with your own."

Yeah, so if you rape someone...?
14:56 July 7, 2011 by jbaker
Killing anything is Wrong!

What goes around comes around. Maybe on this planet or in another life on another world?

We are here for the experience of Life in this 3rd dimentional world. If you agree with(having just the thought) killing or like to physically participate in it, you will have many more life times to see just how wrong Killing is.

You can agree or disagree, hate or love me. We will be crossing paths again.
19:14 July 7, 2011 by german-guardian
@ jbaker

Each of us has only one life that God has given us, and after we die, we will face true judgment from God.

Please stop your blasphemy non-sence.
22:30 July 7, 2011 by wenddiver

@wenddiver - "ounds to me like a just sentence. You take a human life you pay with your own."

Yeah, so if you rape someone...?

Wenddiver response- The States and Citizens of Texas and Florida believe in Law and Order, your fellow inmates not so much. As an inmate convicted of a violent sexual offence you are very likely to be taught by your fellow convicts what a violent and degrading event rape is, suggest you avoid the showers and other inclosed areas.

Life is a learning experience, for some of us that is more painful than others.
10:51 July 8, 2011 by Asgarli
To GRANT a German citizenship to a MURDERER when I as a taxpayer with no criminal record have to soon APPLY for it??? THIS MUST BE A JOKE!
14:33 July 8, 2011 by jbaker

According to the Christian Bible, Men and Women are made from God - God is said to be perfect? If so, then I declare myself as perfect and have no need for judgement(Except unto myself) and will go on after this incarnation to create new worlds without all the suffering that some other parts of myself enjoy here on earth.

The world I will create will have no blasphemy - since there will be no religions- only the laws of the Universe - I.E. God's Laws.
16:35 July 8, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
Given the true cultural norms in muslim countires, it could be argued that no lesson in turning the other cheek can be given by these people, only in spreading them. .....

Those who think forgiveness is part of islamic tradition know NOTHING about it's supposed theology. I am quite sure that any forgiveness here comes, to his credit, from the man himself rather than the theo-political construct that is islam.
16:52 July 8, 2011 by michael4096
@McNair Kaserne - same can be said for vast majority of christians
17:28 July 8, 2011 by MarshaLynn
Now tell me, what business is it of Germany that a brutal murderer is executed in Texas? Furthermore, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear his appeal. Those who say the death penalty is not a deterrent are full of it. A bad business, yes, but guess what -- the world is imperfect and is full of people who do evil to others. Feeling sorry for the evildoer and instead aiming your anger at the society who punishes him is just sick. But that is part of the mental delusion of liberalism.

And, OkieinBerlin, you're full of Okie baloney.
19:04 July 8, 2011 by aslanleon
I'm against the death penalty for a number of reasons and applaud Bhuiyan for his stand. I do not see any mention of what the families of the other victims think, none whatsoever. I wonder why. I am appalled as a German American and son of a German citizen that Germany would grant citizenship to this man. I am also appalled that Germany thinks it is morally justified in interfering in the affairs of another nation in this blatantly hypocritical way.
21:59 July 8, 2011 by Asgarli

By German law he cannot be granted citizenship just like that, he has to naturalize (einburgerung) - thus go through the whole process, which also includes the lack criminal record! Thus by German law he is ineligible to naturalize. But in case Germany somehow would give him citizenship, that would be complete injustice I believe, as I mentioned in my comment before.
02:16 July 10, 2011 by Jameelati
I am a friend of both Mark Stroman & Rais Bhuiyan who I had the pleasure of spending some time with this week when he was in London as part of his tour of Europe. Not only has Rais Bhuiyans quest amazed me but so does the actions of Mark Stroman.Mark has gained friends from all over the World. He has changed their lives in a positive manner through his contact with them. My Mum, is 78 years old and has been suffering from 'severe depression' since my Father died 7 years ago. She has been living 'in care' for 5 of those years as was unable to 'cope'. 3 years ago, her Carer, suggested she wrote to the man she was writing to on Death Row, Mark Ströman. I started to read some of the letters. I could not believe it.This man's letters were full of compassion, advice and funny little anectdotes that made my old mum laugh, I hadn't heard her laugh like that for years. The letters became frequent. Mark and my old Mum have a strong bond, they both confide to each other their thoughts and fears. They entrust to each other precious family photographs.Mums health as so much improved due to Marks support, that just 5 weeks ago, she moved into her own little home once more. In the middle of that prison of death,he found it in himself to care for a random old lady. Another of Marks friend a retired 'Prosecution Attorney', is helping gain signatures for the petition.Another an Israeli Film Director, Ilan Ziv. He went onto Death Row to make a documentary about hate crimes .This is what Ilan Ziv wrote in a blog he wrote on his website.¦quot;I could not stop myself from thinking, as I left prison, how in a different country with a different state of mind ,Mark in prison and with his new insight and understanding could become a huge educational asset for young offenders . Who can have a better impact on young offenders than some one like Mark, bright as he is, and with newly gained insight into the horrible mistakes that landed him in prison. Yes, Mark with all of his tattoos and ¦quot;red neck¦quot; lingo could reach young offenders much more effective than any correctional officer or councillor. I am sure he could save many from a fate similar to his.¦quot; The trouble with the death penalty is that it is not foolproof and there are innocent people being killed because of the law of parties. Please see the following website link showing the fight to try to save the life of an innocent man which was denied.See the video on this site of the widow taking you for a walk through the last week of his life and how that affected her and her family http://www.freegregwright.com/ The USA Justice System is flawed and corrupt.. Enough for me to say Shame on you Texas, through the useage of the untrialled 3 drug cocktail, you are gulity of torture, resulting in murder! This is 2011after all!
09:03 July 10, 2011 by wenddiver
Texas recently executed the the Mexican guy who lived in the US , since he was two years old, despite the objections of the US Government.

Bottom line is forein Citizenship is not a defence in death penalty case. BETTER NOT COMMIT MURDER.

@JAMEELATI- Too bad he didn't become a decent person until he was facing the death penalty. I guess the penalty worked though, because he has at minimum learned how to fake being a good person. Good luck to him, I'm sure his maker will take that into consideration.
14:20 July 10, 2011 by lise_hamel
Texas Justice has a life of its own. One that will not die.
01:55 July 11, 2011 by Naruse
"It does save a lot of tax payers money."

Well, no, actually it doesn't. It costs us all a lot more to take someone's life than it does to keep them in prison for life.

It might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but it's been proven time and time again.

@T.J. Morton - It is murder, and it's murder filtered through bureaucracy and done dispassionately. That it might be legal doesn't change the fact that it's absolutely immoral, and a violation of human rights.
17:49 July 11, 2011 by Marcfromgeorgia19
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:37 July 12, 2011 by Beachrider
Vasudev Patel, Waqar Hasan, and Rais Bhuiyan were all assaulted with gunfire by this convict. The first two died and the third recovered (after an in-the-face shot).

The surviving victim is calling for clemency. Relatives of the dead are not.

It takes serial-murder to get capital punishment in the post-2001 USA. Texas HAS used this penalty more than any other state. The Federal Courts HAVE overturned capital convictions, but only when legal-errors and misjudgements have been clearly shown.

It is dirty work. Previously unsolved crimes are occasionally be resolved as crimes like this. I don't like the murder, but the guy needs to go.
11:39 July 14, 2011 by mishka1220
@ioann, murder is defined as the unlawful, premeditated killing of a person. Since capital punishment is legal in the state of Texas, it doesn't fit the definition of murder. Just in case you wanted to know...

Just because capital punishment is legal in the state of Texas doesn't make it right. Murder is murder. Capital punishment is just the lawful, premedidated killing of an individual.The only difference is in legality as defined by the powers that be and the legal code.

Throughout history governments have committed atrocities .According to those in power at the time, their actions were considered appropriate , however, history has judged them otherwise. How will history judge our country? We lambast the rest of the world for stoning and other inhumane punishments, yet are we not just as guilty? To allow capital punishment to continue in our country and to continue to judge the rest of the world is both ignorant and hypocritical. "Before removing the stick from anothers' eye, first remove it from your own."

Also, what are we teaching our children? Murder is wrong ......... but so long as Uncle Sam authorizes it ... then it is perfectly acceptable. Just because those in power authorize it and the law agrees, does not make this practice correct nor ethically or morally sound.
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