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Timothy McVeigh clemency deadline Thursday

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TERRE HAUTE, Indiana (CNN) -- Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh has until Thursday to ask for presidential clemency to avoid execution.

McVeigh, who previously said he was ending his appeals, is scheduled to be put to death May 16 at the federal prison in Terre Haute, where he is housed.

His attorneys told CNN it is up to McVeigh to decide whether he wants to ask for clemency or a commutation of his sentence from death to life in prison.

McVeigh has maintained throughout the appeal of his bombing conviction that the process was "unfair from the beginning," said his attorney, Rob Nigh.

In late December, McVeigh told trial Judge Richard Matsch via a closed circuit TV hearing from his prison cell that he was no longer willing to challenge his conviction through additional appeals.

It was after that an execution date was set.Over the weekend, the Oklahoma City newspaper " The Oklahoman" reported McVeigh is in favor of publicly broadcasting his execution, which is to be by lethal injection.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is considering a restricted closed-circuit telecast of the execution to allow some victims and victims' relatives to witness it. As it stands now, McVeigh would be allowed six witnesses, the victims would be allowed eight, and the media would be permitted to have 10.

But Nigh said McVeigh has not asked and will not ask prison officials to publicly broadcast his execution.

"What he told the newspaper reporter is 'No, I don't object ... (to a public broadcast) because it would make more sense to make it a public broadcast'," Nigh said.

He said McVeigh believes it would be fairer to him to let as many people as possible watch because with a closed-circuit telecast, victims and government officials would unfairly have more witnesses than McVeigh would.

"If it were public, those who had an interest in Tim McVeigh, and I don't mean in a negative sense, would be able to see it as well," Nigh told CNN.

The Oklahoma paper printed this excerpt from a letter it received from McVeigh: "Because the closed-circuit telecast of my execution raises these fundamental equal-access concerns, and because I am otherwise not opposed to such a telecast, a reasonable solution seems obvious : hold a true "public" execution -- allow a public broadcast."

McVeigh was convicted of the truck bombing of the Oklahoma city federal building on April 19, 1995. The bomb killed 168 people and injured more than 500.



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