Saturday, September 17, 2011

Global Protests Held AgainstTroy Davis Execution

Global Protests Held in Troy Davis Execution Case


By Ray Glier


September 16, 2011


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Some 300 protest rallies were held worldwide Friday

ahead of a last-ditch parole board hearing for death

row inmate Troy Davis, whose planned execution sparked

an international movement.


Davis is set to be executed September 21 for the 1989

shooting death of a police officer in Savannah,

Georgia, but his supporters say there is strong

evidence supporting his claim of innocence.


On Thursday, petitions with 663,000 names were handed

to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles urging

clemency. The board convenes Monday to consider the case.


Laura Moye, the Death Penalty Abolition campaign

director for Amnesty International USA, said a march

was planned in downtown Atlanta at 6:00 pm (2200 GMT),

followed by a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the

spiritual center of the civil rights movement in the

1960s under Martin Luther King.


She said rallies for Davis started earlier in Hong Kong

and carried on throughout the day in the United States,

Latin America, Europe and Asia.


Another 10 events were held in France on behalf of

Davis, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection next

week at a prison in Jackson, Georgia, south of Atlanta.


The parole board is made up of five members and it

takes a simple majority to decide a case.


"We hope the message they hear is that there is too

much doubt in this case," Moye said. "Can we even rely

on the conviction of Troy Davis? Can we be sure we are

not going to execute someone who is innocent?"


In the more than two decades that he has been in jail

for the murder of white police officer Mark Allen

MacPhail, Davis, who is African-American, has

maintained his innocence.


And seven out of nine witnesses who gave evidence at

his trial in 1991 have recanted or changed their testimony.


No murder weapon was ever found, no DNA evidence or

fingerprints tie Davis to the crime, and other

witnesses have since said the murder was committed by

another man -- a witness who testified against him.


The case has became internationally famous as the face

of what critics call a corrupted justice system in the

US deep South, with a black man wrongly and hastily

convicted of killing a white officer.


American Civil Liberties Union attorney Tanya Greene

said the events will carry on over the weekend, saying

there were busloads of people arriving from the suburbs.


"There is a great mobilization, this is more than I

have known in recent history... because it's so clear

that he was railroaded, the witnesses lied. We have all

the evidence now," she said.


"It has energized people, there are a lot of

organizations all across the US and all across the

world, not necessarily focused on death penalty

regularly, because they say that this is an injustice

that we all should pay attention to. Because if it can

happen to him, it can happen to anyone."


The petitions delivered to the Georgia parole board

included signatures from 26 former death row prisoners

who were exonerated of their crimes.


The US Supreme Court became involved in 2009 and

ordered a federal judge in Savannah to convene a

hearing to consider new evidence.


In August 2010, however, a US District Court in Georgia

ruled that Davis had failed to prove his innocence and

denied him a new trial. The top US court turned down a

subsequent appeal.


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