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ERGO has received a letter dated 4 July 2007 from George David Exoo, who is in prison in the Southern Regional Jail, in Beaver, West Virginia, awaiting an extradition hearing sometime in August. The Irish police wish to have him tried for assisting the suicide of a Dublin woman in 2002.

George, aged 64, a gay man, was arrested by the FBI on 25 June. He does not deny that he was in the presence of Rosemary Toole when she committed suicide, but firmly denies that he helped her. She had attempted suicide several times before.

Ireland’s Suicide Act of l993 makes it a felony to aid, abet or counsel a suicide. The penalty is imprisonment for up to 14 years.

To extradite a person, the alleged crime has to be a defined felony in BOTH countries.
It so happens that the state of West Virginia (WV) does not have in its criminal code the offence of assisting a suicide. Ireland does. The FBI and Irish Police claim that a preponderance of American states regard assisted suicide as a felony. This point is likely to be the main argument at next month’s extradition hearing.

George Exoo explains in a handwritten letter from the cell where he is in protective custody: “The legal issue here has nothing to do with what I did, or did not do [in Dublin]. Rather, it’s all jurisprudential, there being no federal law [in the US] against assisting, and no WV law outlawing it.

“There is a third place to turn: law in the preponderance of the states. Extradition requires dual criminality. A preponderance of the states will have to have the same law as Ireland. I think this will be difficult to show as, at least prima facie, the laws all appear to be different.

“My lawyer sought to get release without bond on the basis that success was improbable.
He showed that in three cases where the standard was used, the courts deferred not to preponderance but to the states.

“The Judge thought the better of this, saying at this stage Ireland deserved the widest, most liberal interpretation of the preponderance standard.

“So here I languish. Jail is not an experience I would commend for anyone. Save for a few exceptions, the guards show me no civility, no matter much I offer courtesy to them; and the inmates, largely black men aged 18-22, made me their scapegoat that I have opted to be put in protective custody.

“Sexual threats increased, leading up to my being pummeled with paperback novels. One struck me in the left eye, and had it not been for my glasses I would now surely be blind in that eye. One also threatened shanking.* So now I am in lockdown 22 hours per day…I share a space 10 ft by 14 with two others. At least there is a toilet and a semblance of air conditioning.”

His address, for letters only, is:

George D Exoo Prisoner # 5:07-MC-00059
Southern Regional Jail
Beaver, WV 25813

footnotes: ‘Shanking’ is prison slang for stabbing with a jail constructed knife.

More can be read about George Exoo, his background and his work, at this web site:-

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