Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Free Troy Davis! Stop the Barbaric Death Penalty

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order yesterday denying the cert appeal from Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis for a new trial. Convicted of killing a Savannah policeman in 1989, since his trial seven of the nine eyewitnesses who testified in his trial have recanted their testimony. There was no physical evidence connecting Davis to the shooting, so the eyewitness testimony was key.

According to the CNN report:
The human rights group Amnesty International USA, however, condemned the court's decision.

"The Supreme Court's decision is truly shocking, given that significant evidence of Davis' innocence will never have a chance to be examined," said Larry Cox, the organization's executive director....

Prominent figures ranging from the pope to the musical group Indigo Girls have asked Georgia to grant Davis a new trial. Other supporters include celebrities Susan Sarandon and Harry Belafonte; world leaders such as former President Jimmy Carter and former Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and former and current U.S. lawmakers Bob Barr, Carol Moseley Braun and John Lewis.
Jeralyn quotes more from Amnesty's Cox:
“Faulty eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, and the hallmark of Davis’ case. This was an opportunity for the Court to clarify the constitutionality of putting the innocent to death – and in Davis’ case, his innocence could only be determined with a new hearing or trial."
As in the highly controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Davis was found guilty of killing a policeman. Cops, prosecutors and courts close ranks when it comes to this kind of crime, and the innocence of the accused is not as important as the fact that someone must pay, and pay in blood, for the death of an agent of the state.

Just like their buddy allies in Saudi Arabia, which "executes an average of more than two people a week - almost half... foreign nationals from poor and developing countries," the U.S. leadership in its majority protects its machinery of legal death, as a way of terrorizing the population, and to legitimate its rule by brute force. Born in the racist privilege of the slaveholder to torture and execute his "property," and in the brutal, public spectacles of the execution of the poor for petty crimes that entertained Victorian England, the death penalty is a barbaric legacy of the past.

I ask that my readers support Amnesty International's call for a moratorium on the death penalty, as a bare minimum of action against this sick practice. For more information on Troy Davis's case and how to support him, see troyanthonydavis.org and freetroydavis.com. On the Mumia case, see freemumia.com and partisandefense.org.

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