Monday, 27 October 2008

People's movement stops execution of Troy Davis

People's movement stops execution of Troy Davis

On Oct. 23, rallies for Troy Davis, an innocent Black man scheduled to be
executed in Georgia, were held in 14 U.S. cities including Atlanta,
Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco, and throughout Europe.

Thousands upon thousands of e-mails, letters, phone calls and faxes had
been sent to Georgia officials, media outlets and international bodies
urging immediate action to stop the death sentence from being carried out
on the evening of Oct. 27.

Then, on the morning of Oct. 24, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted
Davis' lawyers a hearing on his emergency appeal based on claims of
innocence. This is a fairly unprecedented move by the appellate court,
which had previously denied an appeal of his conviction.

Davis' case has aroused worldwide outrage. Such well-known figures as
former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa,
Pope Benedict XVI as well as the Parliament of the European Union have all
called his trial and death sentence a miscarriage of justice.

Davis was convicted in 1991 of the murder of a white Savannah off-duty
policeman, Mark Allen McPhail, based solely on eyewitness testimony. The
prosecution had no forensic evidence, no physical proof and no weapon to
connect Davis to the shooting.

Seven of the nine eyewitnesses have recanted their trial testimony, many
of them claiming police coercion and intimidation. Teenagers, questioned
for hours without their parents, were told they would be charged as
accessories to the murder if they didnt finger Davis. Other witnesses,
whose testimony implicated another man, were not called to court.
Incredibly, that man, Sylvester Coles, who has a legal record of assaults,
drug charges and weapons possession, is who first went to the police and
named Davis as the shooter.

Davis has always maintained his innocence. His family and especially his
sister, Martina Correia, have traveled the globe telling the story of
police and prosecutorial misconduct that railroaded Davis onto death row
for a killing he did not commit. Davis' case illuminates everything that
is wrong about the death penaltyfrom its inherent racial and class bias
that sends people of color and the poor consistently to the death
chambers, to the flawed judicial system which places process over

This is Davis' 3rd reprieve from an execution date in a little over a
year. Just a month ago, he was only an hour away from death when the U.S.
Supreme Court intervened. Inexplicably, on Oct. 14, the court failed to
take his appeal and within a day, Georgia had rescheduled his execution to
Oct. 27.

The widespread mass support for Davis and the avalanche of criticism of
the Georgia and U.S. justice system certainly has played a critical role
in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals' surprising decision. Davis' lawyers
have 15 days to file their briefs and then the state of Georgia has 10
days to respond. The appeals court will then schedule a hearing.

For Davis' family and his advocates, this is another month to publicize,
organize and mobilize hundreds of thousands of more people to take a stand
for justice.

(source: Worker's World)

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