Friday, September 09, 2011

Troy Davis faces new execution date. #toomuchdoubt

I was distraught to come in last night and find an e-mail from Anmesty International telling me that Troy Davis's execution has been re-scheduled for less than 2 weeks' time - 21st September. I wrote about his case the last time he faced execution almost exactly 3 years ago. At that time, the killing was stopped with only 2 hours to go.

Troy has been on Death Row in Georgia for 20 years, having been convicted of the murder of a police officer in 1989.

However, there are clear reasons to suspect that his conviction is not safe. This article outlines them.

1)       Of the nine original witnesses in the case, seven have either recanted or contradicted their original stories
2)      Of the two witnesses who have not recanted, one of them was a suspect in the murder, Sylvester    Coles.  A witness even claimed that Coles bragged at a party about having killed an off-duty police officer.
3)      Nine individuals have signed affidavits indicting that the murder was committed by Sylvester Coles
4)      Troy’s date of execution has been set for September 21, 2011 – so we must move quickly.
5)      The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles has originally stated that the execution would only take place if there is “no doubt” about the guilt of the man they are killing.  We argue that there is tremendous doubt in the case of Troy Davis.
I don't agree with the death penalty on principle anyway. The prospect of a miscarriage of justice is just one reason why I am so implacably opposed. Troy's case is one which screams that they may have the wrong guy.
Amnesty are asking people to do three things. Firstly, to sign their petition, 

Secondly to tell everybody they know about Troy's case and get them to sign up as well, making a lot of noise on Facebook and Twitter in the process.

Thirdly, to support the International Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis next Friday,16th September. 

There is to be a clemency hearing on 19th September so it's important to build up an international head of steam on this one before then.

It dawns on me that somebody should do something, I know not what, to speak out for Troy at Federal Conference in Birmingham. Let me have a wee think - and if you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments. At the very least, somebody should collect signatures for the petition to pass on to Amnesty. I'll have a good look at the list of exhibitors to see who we can ask to do it.  Or someone might volunteer when they read this.

We know that the last time Troy was scheduled to be killed, there was a great deal of campaigning on his behalf and his execution was stopped. We have to do the same again. We can't just stand by and watch when there is so much doubt about whether the condemned man actually committed the crime.

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