An Amnesty International campaigner, a musician and a member of the UK parliament are visiting death row inmate Troy Davis in the US state of Georgia. The delegation is helping to highlight what is widely feared to be a miscarriage of justice.
Kim Manning Cooper, death penalty campaigner with Amnesty International’s UK Section, is joined by Richard Hughes, the drummer with rock band Keane, and Alistair Carmichael, chair of the UK parliamentary group for the abolition of the death penalty.
“Even those who don’t agree with Amnesty’s stance in opposing all executions ought to be shocked by this case,” said Kim Manning Cooper. “But the tide may now be turning and it’s heartening to see support for Troy growing all the time.
“We want as many people as possible to sign our petition on behalf of Troy Davis. It’s vital that the Georgia authorities know how strongly people feel about Troy’s plight.”
Richard Hughes said that Troy Davis’ case is “terrifying illustration” of why the death penalty is wrong.
“I am going to Georgia with Amnesty International to meet this remarkable man and his family; to show my support for him; and to try to shine a little light on his case and the terrible effects of continuing to execute people in the name of justice.”
This will be Alistair Carmichael’s second visit to death row in the United States – the other being for the Scotsman Kenny Richey in 2004.
“He was later released from prison and I sincerely hope that soon I’ll be able to say the same about Troy Davis.”
Troy Davis, 40, who has always protested his innocence, has been on death row since 1991. He has faced three execution dates in the past two years, but the US Supreme Court ruled in August 2009 that he should be allowed an evidentiary hearing into his claim of innocence.
Troy Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing a police officer, Mark Allen MacPhail, in Savannah, Georgia in 1989. However, since the trial most of the witnesses the state relied upon to convict him have recanted their testimony.
Georgia is one of 35 US states to retain the death penalty. Since the USA resumed judicial killing in 1977, more than 1,170 men and women have been put to death there. Georgia accounts for 45 of these executions.