Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650


February 11, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- The Amnesty International chapter at Southern Methodist University will show an award-winning film, "The Back of the World," at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, in an effort to raise awareness and save the life of a Texas Death Row inmate scheduled to die Feb. 21. The film, produced in Spain with English subtitles, will be shown in McCord Auditorium, Room 356, Dallas Hall, 3225 University Blvd. The event is free and open to the public.

Thomas Miller-El, whose life is portrayed in the film, has been on death row since 1986 after being convicted of a robbery-murder in Dallas. His case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court as an example of racism in the American justice system. Miller-El's supporters argue that his right to a fair trial was denied when the trial judge allowed the prosecutor to strike potential jurors based on their race.

"Miller-El's case has attracted international attention with many support groups all over Europe," said Maria Carrion, a journalist and assistant to the director of the film. "About 200 people demonstrated in front of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid on Friday, February 8, and presented 5,000 signatures on petitions against the execution."

The director Javier Corcuera of Peru will attend the film's showing at SMU.

The film won the 2001 San Sebastian Festival International Critics Award, helping to launch a campaign that has raised thousands of dollars for Miller-El's defense and leading to thousands of signatures on petitions directed to Texas Governor Rick Perry seeking clemency for Miller-El.

A second segment in the film advocates the right to childhood with the story of a 12-year-old boy in Peru, forced into labor to help support his family. A third segment in the film advocates the right to freedom of expression with the story of a Kurdish woman elected to the Turkish parliament who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for speaking in Kurdish at her swearing in ceremony.

For more information, contact Rick Halperin at 214-768-3284.