Sunday, September 14, 2008

Troy Davis Update

From Amnesty International USA:

Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008
Contact: Wende Gozan, 347-526-5520,
or Jared Feuer, 404-668-8388,


200 Religious Leaders Sign Clemency Letter from Concerned Clergy; Petition Signatures, Letters to Parole Board Top 200,000

(Atlanta) – On the eve of his clemency hearing at the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, support for Troy Davis has reached an all-time high, reported Amnesty International today. The human rights organization, which engaged its international membership and other supporters via an online petition, letters to the Parole Board and a recent text message campaign, said that signatures seeking clemency for Davis now top 200,000.

An Amnesty International delegation, including executive director Larry Cox, Martina Correia (sister of Davis), State Sen. Vincent Fort and death-row exonerees Shujaa Graham and Darby Tillis, delivered more than 21,000 new letters to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles today.

“The public is understandably outraged that Troy Davis never had favorable evidence heard in a court of law,” said Larry Cox, executive director for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). “When the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles granted Davis’ stay of execution, it stated that its members ‘will not allow an execution to proceed in this state unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused.’ The letters are an indisputable reminder that questions of innocence have never been erased. Georgia simply cannot execute under these circumstances.”

In recent days, 200 religious leaders signed the human rights organization’s letter from concerned clergy. The 118 Georgia signatories include noted civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese and Rev. Darrell D. Elligan, president of the Concerned Black Clergy. The letter was also signed by 56 U.S.-based clergy and 26 religious leaders from abroad, including France, Nigeria and Germany.

“As leaders of our respective faith communities, we all find within our teachings a divine directive to support justice in the world and to uphold the sacredness of life. As such, we are united in our support of clemency for Mr. Troy Anthony Davis,” they said. “Our hearts remain broken for the family of Officer MacPhail…at the same time, we must not allow the injustice of his death to be compounded by the death of one who may well be innocent.”

Noted figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu have renewed their calls of support for Davis, and organizations ranging from the NAACP to the European Parliament have passed national and multi-national resolutions on Davis’ case. “It is deeply troubling to me that Georgia might proceed with this execution given the strong claims of innocence in this case,” said Tutu. “It has been repeatedly demonstrated that…the system of capital punishment is fallible, given that it is administered by fallible human beings.”

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. Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing an off-duty Savannah police officer, despite the fact that police never produced a murder weapon and no physical evidence linked Davis to the crime. Following his conviction, seven of the nine original witnesses have either recanted or changed their testimony in sworn affidavits; one of the remaining two is alleged to be the actual killer.

"There but for the grace of God go I" - Said by John Bradford (1510 - 1555) whilst in prison upon seeing a prisoner led to execution. He was later burnt at the stake for being the wrong religion at the wrong time. He is considered a martyr now.

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