Message to state of Georgia, USA: dont execute Troy Davis

More depressing news (sorry, but this is a human rights blog!) about executions in Japan around today.

Three men in their sixties were hanged earlier this morning taking the number killed by the Japanese state this year to 13. Sickening.

Read Amnesty background on how the death penalty is gradually being abolished country by country, but suffice it to say that the Japan is one of the few highly industrialised countries still putting prisoners to death. How their justice ministers live with that – and the staggering arrogance of signing someone’s death warrant – I simply don’t know.

The other day estimable Amnesty blogger Patrick “Sure Shot” Corrigan was covering the TV programme on the last man to be hanged in Northern Ireland – now his colleague Fionna Smyth’s accompanying article in the Newsletter has been at the centre of a lively “bring it back, or not” debate. Go here to have your say.

Meanwhile, it’s not the only argument against the cruelty of the death penalty by a long way, but a very powerful one is the fact that there is the ever-present danger that there’ll be a miscarriage of justice and a completely innocent person will be executed.

This is a distinct possibility with Troy Davis (pictured), a 40-year-old man facing execution on 23 September in the US state of Georgia for the murder of a policeman in 1989. Davis has always adamantly denied the killing. To say that there are doubts about the safety of his conviction would be a massive understatement.

A few examples. Did the case against him consist solely of witness testimony? Yes. Did some of this involve notoriously unreliable “jailhouse informant” testimony? Yes. Did this later get withdrawn by the prisoner who says that he only said what he said because he was under pressure by the police? Yes. Was there crucial eye-witness evidence from people who later admitted that they hadn’t seen Davis kill the police officer? Yes. Did a string of witnesses admit to signing damning statements that they hadn’t even read? Yes. And … wait for it … did one witness later admit that he signed a statement that he not only hadn’t read but couldn’t have read … because he CAN’T READ? Shockingly, depressingly, yes.

Please send an appeal to Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles asking that Davis’ death sentence be commuted. These appeals DO WORK – so please send one as soon as possible. Thanks.

 

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