LONDON, JUNE 10, 2001 ( Europeans overwhelmingly condemned as barbaric the U.S. execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh -- a death sentence not even a papal plea could stop.

The president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly condemned today´s execution as "sad, pathetic and wrong." Lord Russel-Johnston said the execution gave McVeigh the notoriety he sought and called on the United States to reconsider the use of the death penalty, CNN said.

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International said the execution was a triumph of vengeance over justice.

In Italy, where John Paul II had joined with human rights groups in appealing in vain for U.S. President George W. Bush to spare McVeigh´s life, there were protests outside the U.S. Embassy, according to CNN.

A Paris-based group opposed to the death penalty described McVeigh´s execution as "useless and ridiculous."

Michel Taube, president of Together Against the Death Penalty, added: "I don´t think the execution of Timothy McVeigh will change the problems of America."

"The question was: Does the execution avoid a new Timothy McVeigh. ... Unfortunately, the answer is no," Taube told the Associated Press.

The execution was also heavily criticized in Spain, Germany and Portugal.
The last person executed in the European Union was killed by guillotine in France in 1977.

McVeigh, 33, was killed by lethal injection for the deaths of 168 people when he bombed a government office building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1995. He died in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In Washington, President Bush declared that McVeigh had "met the fate he chose for himself six years ago," the AP reported. "Today, every living person who was hurt by the evil done in Oklahoma City can rest in the knowledge that there has been a reckoning," Bush said.

In Oklahoma City, Kathleen Treanor, whose 4-year-old daughter, Ashley, and her husband´s parents died in the bombing, watched a closed-circuit broadcast of the execution, AP said. Afterward, she held up a picture of her daughter and said: "I thought of her every step of the way."

Treanor told AP that the scene at the broadcast was quiet and respectful. But Karen Jones, whose husband was killed in the attack, said she heard a few people clap after it was over and a few cried, AP said.

In his final days, McVeigh had told those close to him that he still considered himself the victor in his one-man war against a government he labeled a bully for its disastrous raids at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge in Idaho, according to AP.

McVeigh was born in Pendleton, New York, and raised Catholic in a middle-class environment, AP said. As he grew up, he developed a distrust of the government, yet he joined the Army and went on to serve in the Gulf War. He returned more disillusioned with the United States, viewing its treatment of the Iraqis as that of a schoolyard bully, AP said.

Drifting across the country, McVeigh stewed over what he saw as government encroachment on the right to bear arms, AP reported. The government raids at Waco and at the cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge brought his hatred to a peak, the agency said.