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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Amnesty International Praises Stay of Execution for Troy Davis

23 Sep 2008
Region: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Topic: Abolition of the Death Penalty
(Atlanta) Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today welcomed the order from the Supreme Court of the United States to stay the execution of Troy Anthony Davis hours before his scheduled execution. The state of Georgia scheduled Davis’ execution for today, in effect circumventing the U.S. Supreme Court before it had time to decide whether its justices would consider Davis’ case.
“For reasons that are unfathomable, Chatham County officials seemed doggedly determined to ram this execution through before justice could fully run its course,” said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA. “We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court has shown the foresight to stay the execution. We hope that it takes up the case and looks at it with fresh eyes, marking the first time that evidence pointing to Davis’ innocence will have been heard in a court of law.”

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Authorities failed to produce a murder weapon or any physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. In addition, seven of the nine original state witnesses have since recanted or changed their initial testimonies in sworn affidavits. In March 2008 the Georgia Supreme Court decided against a new evidentiary hearing for Davis in a narrow 4-3 ruling. Last Friday, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Davis’ request for clemency.

Since the launch of its February 2007 report, Where Is the Justice for Me? The Case of Troy Davis, Facing Execution in Georgia, Amnesty International has campaigned intensively for clemency for Davis, collecting well over 200,000 petition signatures and letters from across the United States and around the world. To date, internationally known figures such as Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have all joined the call for clemency, as well as lawmakers from within and outside of Georgia.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in over 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Contact: Wende Gozan, 347-526-5520, wgozan@aiusa.org or Jared Feuer, 404-668-8388, jfeuer@aiusa.org

Sept. 23, 2008

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