The siege of Troy Davis
I’ve written about it a couple of times already so won’t go through all the ins and outs, but just pose this question? Is the US state of Georgia really going to execute Troy Davis?
Yes, I know a trial jury found him guilty, a judge sentenced him to death, a “clemency” board said (in effect) “go ahead, kill in” and the Supreme Court said (more or less) “we’re not looking at the case”, but are they ACTUALLY going to let this man be killed next Monday?
Ok, I work for Amnesty so I shouldn’t come over all naïve about this, but … COME ON! This is a case totally haunted by doubts about whether the man they intend to strap down to a lethal injection gurney at 7pm Georgia time on Monday next week actually committed a crime at all. (Leaving aside whether ANYONE should actually be extinguished from the face of the planet in the name of “justice”).
Just the main elements again. No murder weapon. No forensic evidence. Conviction entirely based on witness testimony. Seven out of nine non-police witnesses recanting their “evidence”. One witness who signed a statement despite the fact that he was illiterate and couldn’t read. More background here.
If I was on the Georgia Board Of Pardons And Paroles (not that I’m likely to be asked) I’d be kicking it back on just one of these grounds, not letting them all pass through.
My colleague SteveB has also blogged on Troy today: check out his post as part of the Daily Telegraph/Amnesty “blog swap”. (Cool stuff! Next Amnesty gets Alan Hansen to manage our 5-aside football team and they get … er, me writing about Liverpool FC’s defensive frailties). Anyway, he reminds us that it was former Conservative home secretary Kenneth Baker who said that with capital punishment you’ve got to remember there’s “no reprieve from the grave”. I reckon that’s about it.
The odds are stacked against Troy but weren’t they always when it comes to gross injustice? Take action for Troy here – you’ll be adding your voice to those of Desmond Tutu, the Pope, Russell Simmons (Def Jam legend!), Jimmy Carter, Harry Belafonte, rom-com acting god Colin Firth, Jesse Jackson and thousands of others.
Meanwhile, ignore the autumnal chill, leave your cosy keyboard alone for once and get out on the streets. Today’s been designated a “Global Day Of Action” on Troy Davis (check out the Amnesty USA site for more details) and we’re rallying support. When I last counted there were 18 rallies in the USA alone – so if you’re reading this in Palm Springs, California or in downtown New York City (do these blogs reach that far?), I can confirm there is a Troy Davis event near you tonight…!
Nearer home, please come to the Amnesty candle-lit vigil for Troy outside the American embassy in London on Monday night at 5pm (full details here). But whatever you do, please send an email for Troy Davis. It could still save a man’s life.
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.