US judge orders execution between 21-28 September
Amnesty International has urged the Board of Pardons and Parole in the US state of Georgia to grant clemency to death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis after a judge ordered that his execution will take place later this month (between 21-28 September).
Troy Davis, 42, has been on death row since being convicted in 1991 of the killing of an off-duty policeman Mark Allen MacPhail, who was shot in Savannah, Georgia in 1989.
Davis has always protested his innocence and there are longstanding doubts about the fairness of his trial. There is no physical evidence linking Davis to the crime and seven out of nine prosecution witnesses later recanted or changed their initial testimonies in sworn affidavits.
Amnesty International USA Executive Director Larry Cox said:
“The board stayed Davis’ execution in 2007, stating that capital punishment was not an option when doubts about guilt remained.
“Since then two more execution dates have come and gone, and there is still little clarity, much less proof, that Davis committed any crime.
“Amnesty International respectfully asks the board to commute Davis’ sentence to life and prevent Georgia from making a catastrophic mistake.”
Since the launch of its 2007 report, “Where Is the Justice for Me? The Case of Troy Davis, Facing Execution in Georgia”, Amnesty has campaigned intensively for clemency for Davis.
On 12 April 2011 Amnesty issued an “Urgent Action” to its membership on his behalf and more than 300,000 signatures have been gathered for Davis since the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles last considered clemency. Following an “evidentiary hearing” last summer, a former FBI director William Sessions renewed his support for the inmate, and Nobel laureates Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jose Ramos Horta have recently appealed to the board for clemency
In the UK Amnesty supporters have also lobbied the US authorities to consider clemency in his case.
Amnesty International UK Death Penalty Campaign Manager Clare Bracey said:
“Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases but Troy Davis’ case is so riven with doubt that our supporters in the UK have been galvanised into action.
“There is widespread alarm here that a potentially innocent man could be going to his death after a deeply flawed trial. That thought is horrifying and we’ll be going all out to stop the execution.”
Amnesty supporters in the UK have been petitioning the Georgia authorities calling for him to be spared execution.
Since 2007 the US states of New Mexico, New Jersey and Illinois have abolished the death penalty. When signing the abolitionist bills into law the three state governors all pointed to the risk of irrevocable error as a reason to support abolition. In the 20 years that Davis has been on death row, more than 90 prisoners have been released from death rows across the USA on grounds of innocence. Each had been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
Last year the USA executed 46 death row inmates, a lower figure than in recent years. Doubts about the penalty are increasing in the country, including over the use of lethal injections.