Fancy a flutter?

I used to like a Friday night 1970s television programme called “Appointment With Fear”.

Looking back, it was probably pure period cheese, but – along with John Pertwee-era “Dr Who” – it did the job of scaring me and my brother. (“Neil, turn it over!” would be my sibling’s cry. Younger brothers, eh?).

Well, this Tuesday a man in the US state of Georgia has an appointment with …death.

There’s absolutely nothing cheesy about it. This is the real, deadly, deal. I doubt any TV station would want to touch the case of William Earl Lynd. Here’s a man convicted of shooting his live-in partner. No doubts about his guilt. He even handed himself in.

But is lethally injecting him in an execution chamber on Tuesday at 7pm local Georgia time the right response? He’s already been in prison for nearly 20 years. He’s now 52 years old. Is fixing an appointment with death how a civilised society should deal with people like Lynd? A life for a life, a death for a  death. Simple, clear, but totally stupid and wrong.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, just last week at Amnesty we had a visit from a man called Billy Moore. He spent nearly 17 years on death row in … Georgia. His life has since turned around. He’s gone from an out-of-control dopehead who killed a man in a robbery, to someone who has served his time, become a devout Christian and now talks eloquently and calmly about how capital punishment in the US doesn’t work. How it leaves poor people like him with useless lawyers and acts as a racist instrument in a still-divided USA.

Listen to him telling his amazing story (scroll down to Friday’s programme), and when that link comes down read “dead man talking”.

Because of deep concerns about lethal injections paralysing prisoners who then feel excruciating pain during their final moments alive (see another recent post), there hasn’t been a single execution in the USA since September. It’s the longest “fallow” period for 30 years. Please join Billy Moore and Amnesty in calling on the Georgia authorities to halt this unnecessary return to state killing.

And staying with the death penalty … (well it is a Friday!), Amnesty has just this morning published a report on capital punishment in India. Some critics accuse Amnesty of producing “superficial” reports. This one’s 243 pages long, so let’s see if the Indian government reads it all!

You’re probably pushed for time, so I’ll give you the digested version. “The death penalty in India is riddled with fatal flaws and whether you live or die is nothing more than a lethal lottery”.

Sounds familiar. It’s like the “Deerhunter” Russian Roulette scene played out in a shoddy legal system.  Fancy a flutter? 

PS. Seen on a billboard on the way into work today: “Eat shit. Millions of flies can’t be wrong” – the Economist.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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