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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Troy Davis va être exécuté

Troy Davis to be executed

Translated Wednesday 21 September 2011, by Harry Cross and reviewed by Bill Scoble

American justice has refused to grant mercy to Troy Davis, an African American condemned to death in 1991 for the murder of a white police officer. In a statement on Tuesday, the day before his scheduled execution in Georgia, Amnesty International stated that Davis had become symbolic in the struggle against the death penalty.

“Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles has recently rejected Troy Davis’s clemency petition,” announced a spokesman of the human rights organisation in Atlanta.

The meeting of the Board of Pardons and Paroles in Atlanta, the state capitol, was considered a last chance for the condemned man, since the governor of Georgia does not have authority over the death penalty.

The execution of Troy Davis is scheduled to take place, by lethal injection, Wednesday at 19H00 (23H00 GMT) in Jackson prison, despite numerous doubts regarding his guilt.

Three new members to the committee

The committee had already refused clemency in 2008, but defenders of Troy Davis rested their hopes on the fact that the current committee contained three new members.

Numerous supporters of Davis protested throughout the day in front of the committee headquarters, displaying placards reading “We are all Troy Davis”, “Justice: free Troy Davis”, or “Too much doubt: Save Troy Davis.”

But the family of Mark MacPhail, the policeman killed in 1989, reaffirmed that 42-year-old Troy Davis was the author of the crime committed in the town of Savannah.

We are the true victims,” declared Mrs MacPhail, the widow of the police officer, outside the building where the Board’s reunion was taking place. She has promised to attend the execution on Wednesday with her two children.

The daughter of the police officer, Madison, now 24-years-old, was in tears. “A future was taken from me…in three years I will be older than my father when he was killed. He will always be 27-years-old,” she said.

51 executions in Georgia since 1976

The state of Georgia has carried out 51 executions since the reinstating of the death penalty in the United States in 1976. Mercy has only been granted seven times in the same period.

42 years of age, 20 of which have been spent on death row in Georgia, Troy Davis has been presented by his defenders as the typical wrongly-convicted African American. He is supported by numerous well-known figures such as former president Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and the actress Susan Sarandon.

Nine witnesses at the time identified Troy Davis as the author of the crime but the murder weapon was never found, and nor were either fingerprints or DNA. Since then, seven of the nine witnesses have retracted their declarations incriminating Troy Davis, several of them identifying another suspect.

Declaration by the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton

The Supreme Court had offered Troy Davis an exceptional possiblity in August 2009 to benefit from a new hearing. Numerous witnesses described, without convincing the federal judge, how the police had persuaded them at the time to incriminate the young black man. On Monday, the European Union called for clemency in a communication signed by Catherine Ashton, the European Foreign Minister.

“The European Union has followed with great concern the case of Mr. Troy Davis, a U.S. citizen sentenced to death in the State of Georgia. Serious and compelling doubts have persistently surrounded the evidence on which Mr. Davis was convicted, and these were recognized by the appeal judges. The European Union therefore calls for his execution to be urgently commuted”, pleaded Catherine Ashton.

Further reading:

Declaration of Patrick Le Hyaric, Director of Humanité, Deputy at the European Parliament:

“The mercy refused to Troy Davis is a denial of justice and runs contrary to all rationality. The majority of witnesses have withdrawn their statements. No murder weapon was ever found. There is therefore no proof supporting the prosecution’s accusations for which Davis will be executed, as the Board of Pardons and Paroles has recently confirmed.

Is it because he is black that that the Board of Pardons and Paroles found itself beyond reasonable doubt? Troy Davis is the symbol of condemnation without proof. Several hours now remain to stop the arm of the executioner. Let us be heard by all the means available to us before Wednesday evening. As French and European authorities continue to call for, and recall for: Save the life of Troy Davis!”

> Amnesty International

Watch and listen

> September 17th, 2011: Patrick Le Hyaric opens the World Village at the Fête de l’Humanité (the Celebration of Humanity) and dedicates it to Troy Davis.

> Badinter speaks out against the death penalty at the Fête de l’Humanité

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