Friday, September 16, 2011

Global protests held in Troy Davis execution case

link to article

By Ray Glier 9/16/2011

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.


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.


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.


A Facebook friend referred to the Wikipedia article, which made it appear that Davis didn't give much defense at his trial last year. Wikipedia is very useful, but not always reliable.

For a more credible source, see the Christian Science Monitor article.


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