Amnesty International is concerned about the impact of the latest federal district court ruling on Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis.
William Cordery, Amnesty International’s senior development officer for the Southern region, just sent me a press release that has come out of the organization’s Washington office.
Here is the release
(Washington, D.C.) – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today expressed deep concern that a federal district court decision puts Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis back on track for execution, despite doubts about his guilt that were raised during a June evidentiary hearing.
Judge William T. Moore, Jr. ruled that while executing an innocent person would violate the United States Constitution, Davis didn’t meet the extraordinarily high legal bar to prove his innocence.
“Nobody walking out of that hearing could view this as an open-and-shut case,” said Larry Cox, executive director of AIUSA. “The testimony that came to light demonstrates that doubt still exists, but the legal bar for proving innocence was set so high it was virtually insurmountable. It would be utterly unconscionable to proceed with this execution, plain and simple.”
Amnesty International representatives, including Cox, attended the hearing in Savannah, Ga. The organization noted that evidence continues to cast doubt over the case:
* Four witnesses admitted in court that they lied at trial when they implicated Troy Davis and that they did not know who shot Officer Mark MacPhail.
* Four witnesses implicated another man as the one who killed the officer – including a man who says he saw the shooting and could clearly identify the alternative suspect, who is a family member.
* Three original state witnesses described police coercion during questioning, including one man who was 16 years old at the time of the murder and was questioned by several police officers without his parents or other adults present.
“The Troy Davis case is emblematic of everything that is wrong with capital punishment,” said Laura Moye, director of AIUSA’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign. “In a system rife with error, mistakes can be made. There are no do-overs when it comes to death. Lawmakers across the country should scrutinize this case carefully, not only because of its unprecedented nature, but because it clearly indicates the need to abolish the death penalty in the United States.”
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 a new evidentiary hearing or trial and clemency for Davis, collecting hundreds of thousands of clemency 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 Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.