Tuesday, 17 July 2007
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL APPLAUDS STAY OF EXECUTION FOR TROY ANTHONY DAVIS
(Atlanta) -- Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) applauded today's decision
by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant a 90-day stay
of execution to Troy Anthony Davis, who has spent 15 years on death row
for a murder that he denies committing. Davis, 38, was convicted despite
the lack of a murder weapon or physical evidence linking him to the crime.
"Let today begin a new day for truth and justice in Georgia," said Larry
Cox, executive director of AIUSA. "We call upon the Georgia Parole Board
to recognize that in the United States, one is innocent until proven
guilty -- and in the absence of such proof, there is no acceptable choice
but to grant clemency. The Board must recognize the flawed logic of
executing a man who may be innocent."
Troy Anthony Davis, who is African American, was convicted in 1991 of
murdering Mark MacPhail, a white police officer. The prosecution based its
case on the testimony of purported "witnesses," many of whom allege police
coercion. Seven of the nine non-police witnesses for the prosecution have
recanted or contradicted their testimony in sworn affidavits, and 9 people
assert that one of the two who hasn't recanted is actually responsible for
Despite this, Davis' habeas corpus petition was denied by the state court
on a technicality -- evidence of police coercion was "procedurally
defaulted," that is, not raised earlier, so the court did not take it. The
Georgia Supreme Court and 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals deferred
to the state court and rejected Davis' claims, and earlier this month the
U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case.
"We are deeply saddened that the MacPhail family has suffered such pain
and hope that today's decision will lead to a fair and earnest search for
justice," said Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, director of AIUSA's Program to
Abolish the Death Penalty. "Now that the Board has issued a stay of
execution, it is time for authorities to reopen their investigation and
seek the truth. Only in that way can society honor the memory of Mark
Amnesty International has long-standing concerns about Troy Davis's case.
In February of this year, the organization released a 35-page report,
"Where is the Justice for Me?" The case of Troy Davis, facing execution in
Georgia. In recent weeks the organization has mobilized its worldwide
membership and collected thousands of letters calling for clemency for Mr.
For more information, please visit www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis.