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Help save Andrew & Myuran

Andrew and Myuran, two young Australians, face execution in Indonesia. They have admitted trying to traffic drugs to Australia. They have exhausted their appeals. All that can save them is clemency from Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. We ask you to help in respectfully seeking clemency.

Help save Andrew & Myuran

Sign our petition, spread the word and see other ways you can help.

Sign here – mercycampaign.org

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As Advocates Of Those On Death Row At Death We Do Not Part

Tonight SBS will air the mini series Better Man that tells the story of Van Nguyen, the young Australian executed in Singapore. As someone who has worked on Death Penalty cases for ten years, seeks to educate the public on the issue and was part of a large group of people who battled to save Van’s life you’d think this would be a TV show I’d support. I do not and I do not believe it should go to air!

On the 2nd December 2005 at Changi Prison Singapore, Van Tuong Nguyen was executed. Hung by the neck until he was dead. As these events took place I stood outside the High Commission of Singapore in Canberra with a small group of others including then Senator Stott Despoja and waited until the news came through. Van was dead, murdered by the state of Singapore. Only days earlier I had been inside the same High Commission for the last time pleading for Van’s life to be spared.

Now many years have past, I’ve worked on many other cases, assisted by people I met during those years in which Van’s life was in the balance. Just before Van was executed I sat down with long time death penalty opponent and Australian political figure Barry Jones, almost everything he said was right. The execution would take place, more Australian’s would face the same penalty in SE Asia in years to come and because I had years on my side, years he didn’t have, I should continue to fight. But as advocates of those on death row at death we do not part. And not for the first time I find myself defending someone we have previously lost to the Death Penalty.

Left behind after Van’s death are his mother Kim Nguyen and his twin brother Khoa. Neither of them had anything to do with the making of Better Man and they do not want it screened. How is it that a show can be made accurately about an individual without any input from the two people who knew that individual best? Then there is the pain that opening this old wound is causing them, for what purpose does this serve? For ratings? To make money for the rich folk involved in its production?

Federal Speaker Anna Burke read a letter on ABC radio from Ms Nguyen to the director Khoa Do. She said she was concerned for the mental health and wellbeing of her constituents.

2005: Kim Nguyen leaving Singapore's Changi prison, with her son Khoa, after visiting her other son Nguyen Van Tuong, who was then still alive.

“Know the truth. Understand what is right and wrong. In writing a short story, like you did, you touched our family’s wounds once again,” Ms Burke read from the letter.

“Don’t do it for your personal benefit. You haven’t had enough understanding of a parents’ responsibility.

“You are not much older than my kid. Do you know what really happened? All you could do is listen to other people’s gossip. You have violated our rights and made our family’s life so difficult,” she read.

Executed:   Nguyen  Van was convicted of carrying 400 grams of heroin through Changi Airport.

Ms Burke said Ms Nguyen’s surviving son, Khoa Nguyen was distressed by the imminent screening.

“The surviving twin is going through hell and with the title Better Man it leaves someone wondering: who is the worse man?”

Ms Burke said SBS had given her and Ms Nguyen a copy of the show but she would not watch it.

“She can’t bring herself to watch it and she didn’t want anyone else to. I am respecting her wishes,” Ms Burke said.

So then we have the argument from SBS and the makers of Better Man that it will educate the public on the issue of the Death Penalty and help change the issue in our region.  Van’s Laywer Lex Lasry dismisses such claims and attacked the accuracy of the show. ”Whatever this show is, it is not the public record of what happened. The script I read was dramatically inaccurate and I guess that’s because it is a drama,”

‘‘They want to tell it because they want to tell a story and presumably attract ratings. If anyone thinks that running a dramatisation of anything like this is going to make a difference to the death penalty debate in Australia they are kidding themselves.’’ ‘‘I am concerned that the portrayal of what happened to all of the participants doesn’t really seem to accord with the truth and I think there is way too much emphasis on the lawyers,’’ he said.

‘‘The real gravamen of this story is about the family, about the death penalty itself and about the courage of our client, particularly at the end. That’s where the concentration should be. There is just too much temptation obviously to tell a legal soap opera and I don’t much care for any of that.’’

So for those of us whose lives it is to fight for every man, woman and child on Death Row. For those of us who witnessed Van’s courage, who were inspired by him and his family… it is hard to see this as anything more than the sensationalist profiteering from a tragic, painful event.

Tonight I will do what I always do, I’ll stay up until my eyes cannot stay open any longer… not because Better Man is on my screen but because there is real work to be done to save my clients right now who face the Death Penalty. For me that is a much better way to honour Van than watching any TV show could ever be!

200 Australians Overseas And In Prison – ABC Interview w/ Martin Hodgson

200 Australians Overseas And In Prison

26/02/2013 , 11:00 AM by Jen Hunt

 

Martin hodgson

We know how much Australians love to travel but if you were overseas and, for whatever reason, ended up on the wrong side of the law and behind bars….then Martin Hodgson from Kalaru is someone you would want to know.

For more than 10 years, Martin has been closely involved with the work of Foreign Prisoner Support Service, also known as Save-A-Life, a volunteer organisation which advocates on behalf of those Australians in prison overseas as well as campaigning against the death penalty.

Unlike the high profile case of Schapelle Corby, very few of us have heard of the tragic circumstances of Rachel Diaz. Martin shares her story as well as taking issue with the Australian Federal Police’s practice of letting known drug mules leave the country. You can also hear Martin’s suggestions for staying safe while travelling abroad.

http://blogs.abc.net.au/files/martin-hodgson.mp3 – Click to listen

 

 

World Day Against The Death Penalty

Studies have shown over the years that half of the Australian population continue to support the death penalty, but how many have really thought about the consequences. 

Tomorrow, 10th October, is the 10th Annual World Day Against the Death Penalty an important day to take stock of the progress that has been made in the quest for abolition and the work still to be done. As an Anti-death penalty coordinator my views against the death penalty would not surprise anyone. But I did not come to this conclusion from nowhere, it is based on a decade of case work that has involved working on the death penalty in countries across the world. Before that I spent 3 years in study both formal and of my own to come to the conclusion that the death penalty is an injustice in all cases.

Yet polls in Australia, a country that has abolished the death penalty, show that roughly half the population still support the process of death. So it is important that Australian’s take the time to think about this important domestic and international issue. Most who call for the death penalty tend to do so for cases of mass murder, but around the world these worst of offenders tend never to be executed. Take the United States, the only Western nation that still executes its civilians for non-military crimes. Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer are two of the most well-known and well-studied serial killers of the last 100 years, neither was executed and Manson is eligible to apply for parole in 2 years time. Dahmer was convicted of killing 15 men and boys, raping them both before and after their death and consuming the flesh of others. If anyone was to be sentenced to death one would safely assume Dahmer would be the poster child. He wasn’t.

Instead people like Troy Davis, Tookie Williams, Angel Diaz and Todd Willingham have all been executed in that time. They are just four whose guilt, fairness of trial and legality of arrest are all in serious question. Willingham was almost certainly innocent when he was put to death, while serious doubt remains about that of Davis. Mean while in states like Illinois they have abolished the death penalty after studies found those waiting for execution were not only NOT the worst of the worst, but innocent and must be released. The US imprisons more than 2 million people, the largest number and per capita figure in the world, they have shocking levels of recidivism and a death penalty machine that executes the Black, poor and mentally ill at a rate that outweighs their counterparts in the rest of the community by more than 10 times.

This therefore is not capital punishment that is set out to remove the worst of the worst from society but a system that executes those with poor legal representation, no money, a minority or with a serious mental illness. As the saying goes, don’t have the capital and you get the punishment. This is backed up by every major study conducted into the death penalty system that has shown it does not act as a deterrent. Rather states that impose the death penalty tend to have higher rates of murder and violent crime and as a result larger prison populations. It becomes a vicious cycle that results in more and more innocent victims of crime and loss of life. While studies in a number of states, including the study ordered by then Governor George Ryan in Illinois showed the death penalty system was broken at every turn.

Outside of the US the majority of executions take place in Pakistan, China, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. These are often not against those who have committed violent crimes, but political dissidents, those whom have been convicted of blasphemy, crimes against the king or ruler and adultery/homosexuality. Pakistan and Iran have this year carried out the execution of those whose only crime was to promote their religion other than the state accepted religion of Islam. While Iran and Saudi Arabia have executed women who have been raped, for the crime of adultery. Saudi Arabia still conducts its execution by sword and beheading is a gruesome and rarely swift method for murder by the state of a human being. China’s figures for execution are so large they refuse to publish them, they are often those who dare question the totalitarian regime or who are from ethnic groups in the outer reaches of the nation.

This is NOT justice!

Each year more than 10,000 people are officially executed by nations around the world. Virtually none have been convicted of mass killing or large-scale sexual abuse of children. The death penalty is simply an act of revenge against a small percentage of the criminal population and a larger percentage of women, minority groups and those whose actions would be deemed simply free expression in the majority of the world.

Supporting the death penalty is not the support for being hard on crime, it is the support for an unjust gruesome system of vengeance that rarely gets the right man and promotes a cycle of violent crime, mistrust and fear in the nations that carry it out most often. There are no safe guards, there can be no over turning of the act when an execution has taken place and Australia is better for no longer partaking in the practice. But we also must do our part to end this most barbaric of acts around the world. And if we value our friendship with the United States we must encourage them to catch up with the rest of the world and end this dark ages horror. Only then will the last remaining nations begin to follow and the world can be free of one of the crimes against humanity we can stop forever!

Martin Hodgson

Anti Death Penalty Coordinator – Foreign Prisoner Support Service.

http://www.foreignprisoners.com

Married girl hanged to death in Ghor, Afghanistan

…the victim had long been subjected to domestic violence by her in-laws and she was finally hanged. 

By Muhammad Hassan Hakimi & Ramin

A young woman was allegedly hanged to death by her father-in-law in western Ghor province, officials said on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was found dead on the outskirts of Chaghcharan late on Saturday, deputy police chief, Col. Abdul Rashid Bashir, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

He said the girl’s four in-laws had been arrested in connection with the murder. Her spouse was out of the province at the time of the killing, he said.

An area resident, who wished not to be named, said the victim had long been subjected to domestic violence by her in-laws and she was finally hanged.

Provincial Human Rights Commission Director Dr. Aqala Sharaf condemned the incident, saying efforts were being made to determine the cause.

Since the beginning of the year, she said, 24 cases of violence against women had been registered with the commission. The cases included domestic violence and forced marriages, she concluded.

Read more: http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2011/10/23/married-girl-hanged-to-death-in-ghor.html#ixzz1bgBVIaLk

World Day Against The Death Penalty

Studies have shown over the years that half of the Australian population continue to support the death penalty, but how many have really thought about the consequences. 

Today, 10th October, is the 9th Annual World Day Against the Death Penalty an important day to take stock of the progress that has been made in the quest for abolition and the work still to be done. As an Anti-death penalty coordinator my views against the death penalty would not surprise anyone. But I did not come to this conclusion from nowhere, it is based on a decade of case work that has involved working on the death penalty in countries across the world. Before that I spent 3 years in study both formal and of my own to come to the conclusion that the death penalty is an injustice in all cases.

A day to call for the end of the Death Penalty everywhere

Yet polls in Australia, a country that has abolished the death penalty, show that roughly half the population still support the process of death. So it is important that Australian’s take the time to think about this important domestic and international issue. Most who call for the death penalty tend to do so for cases of mass murder, but around the world these worst of offenders tend never to be executed. Take the United States, the only Western nation that still executes its civilians for non-military crimes. Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer are two of the most well-known and well-studied serial killers of the last 100 years, neither was executed and Manson is eligible to apply for parole in 2 years time. Dahmer was convicted of killing 15 men and boys, raping them both before and after their death and consuming the flesh of others. If anyone was to be sentenced to death one would safely assume Dahmer would be the poster child. He wasn’t.

Instead people like Troy Davis, Tookie Williams, Angel Diaz and Todd Willingham have all been executed in that time. They are just four whose guilt, fairness of trial and legality of arrest are all in serious question. Willingham was almost certainly innocent when he was put to death, while serious doubt remains about that of Davis. Mean while in states like Illinois they have abolished the death penalty after studies found those waiting for execution were not only NOT the worst of the worst, but innocent and must be released. The US imprisons more than 2 million people, the largest number and per capita figure in the world, they have shocking levels of recidivism and a death penalty machine that executes the Black, poor and mentally ill at a rate that outweighs their counterparts in the rest of the community by more than 10 times.

This therefore is not capital punishment that is set out to remove the worst of the worst from society but a system that executes those with poor legal representation, no money, a minority or with a serious mental illness. As the saying goes, don’t have the capital and you get the punishment. This is backed up by every major study conducted into the death penalty system that has shown it does not act as a deterrent. Rather states that impose the death penalty tend to have higher rates of murder and violent crime and as a result larger prison populations. It becomes a vicious cycle that results in more and more innocent victims of crime and loss of life. While studies in a number of states, including the study ordered by then Governor George Ryan in Illinois showed the death penalty system was broken at every turn.

Outside of the US the majority of executions take place in Pakistan, China, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. These are often not against those who have committed violent crimes, but political dissidents, those whom have been convicted of blasphemy, crimes against the king or ruler and adultery/homosexuality. Pakistan and Iran have this year carried out the execution of those whose only crime was to promote their religion other than the state accepted religion of Islam. While Iran and Saudi Arabia have executed women who have been raped, for the crime of adultery. Saudi Arabia still conducts its execution by sword and beheading is a gruesome and rarely swift method for murder by the state of a human being. China’s figures for execution are so large they refuse to publish them, they are often those who dare question the totalitarian regime or who are from ethnic groups in the outer reaches of the nation.

This is NOT justice!

Each year more than 10,000 people are officially executed by nations around the world. Virtually none have been convicted of mass killing or large-scale sexual abuse of children. The death penalty is simply an act of revenge against a small percentage of the criminal population and a larger percentage of women, minority groups and those whose actions would be deemed simply free expression in the majority of the world.

Supporting the death penalty is not the support for being hard on crime, it is the support for an unjust gruesome system of vengeance that rarely gets the right man and promotes a cycle of violent crime, mistrust and fear in the nations that carry it out most often. There are no safe guards, there can be no over turning of the act when an execution has taken place and Australia is better for no longer partaking in the practice. But we also must do our part to end this most barbaric of acts around the world. And if we value our friendship with the United States we must encourage them to catch up with the rest of the world and end this dark ages horror. Only then will the last remaining nations begin to follow and the world can be free of one of the crimes against humanity we can stop forever!

Martin Hodgson

Anti Death Penalty Coordinator – Foreign Prisoner Support Service.

http://www.foreignprisoners.com

Statement, plus letter from Troy Davis (extract)

Statement by Martin Hodgson – Anti Death Penalty Coordinator, Foreign Prisoner Support Service.

The Murder of Troy Davis –  

Please do not publish without prior consent and I insist on accurate reporting of this matter.

At 1.08pm AEST Troy Anthony Davis was executed by the state of Georgia, USA, for a crime he did not commit.

Abolish now! - Martin Hodgson

Despite all the facts in the case, 7/9 witnesses retracting their testimony, no DNA or physical evidence and countless irregularities in the case the State of Georgia went ahead with what will be marked on Troy’s death certificate as a “homicide”. He was an innocent man who the justice system failed and he maintained that innocence until his death.

Troy had the support of millions of people around the World and in the United States, he had the support of President Jimmy Carter, Fmr FBI Director William Sessions, The Pope, Archbishop Tutu, as well as countless Human rights groups, Celebrities and everyday people.

Troy Davis fought not just for himself, but for those he knew would follow him to the death chamber. He did not want anyone to experience what he has been through and so in his name we continue our fight against the Death Penalty. One of the drugs used to kill Troy was Pentobarbital and I urge all nations to prevent the sale of the drug to any country that would use it in the machinery of death. Today a company profited a large sum of money for the supply of chemicals to kill an innocent man, this must stop.

I urge Australia to continue to oppose the Death Penalty in all cases and to encourage our friends in the International community to abolish its use. We have an International obligation under the second optional protocol (ICCPR) and our media must also shine a light on this barbaric relic of the dark ages.

Troy Davis was an innocent man, with courage, conviction and faith that his story would be told and that capital punishment will end. But Troy Davis was not an issue, not a hashtag on twitter or an evening headline. He was a human being, with real fears, with real dreams and with supreme courage. So as I say “I am Troy Davis” I invite Australians to read a small extract from a letter I received from Troy and know the connection he felt with us.

“When I receive your letters I think of my Sister Martina and feel blessed that her message to save my life has reached around the world. Your shared name reminds me how small this world is and I am marveled that people in Australia know my story. I never dreamed I would be speaking to someone from your country but I know the people are so nice. I hope one day we can share your warm sun together and I have the opportunity to thank all those who have supported me. I cannot hear your voice or see your face but I know we share the human spirit.”

I am Troy Davis!

Martin Hodgson – Anti Death Penalty Coordinator, Foreign Prisoner Support Service.

Bega, NSW. Australia. 0402652047

1deadlynation@gmail.com

martin.hodgson@foreignprisoners.com

Fasting For Troy, in Solidarity – I am Troy Davis

UPDATE @ Bottom re: Fasting.

Despite all the evidence, numerous appeals and support from around the World for his cause it now looks almost certain Troy Davis will be executed for a crime he did not commit.

On Wednesday 21 Sept. 2011 the State of Georgia will summon Troy Davis from his cell, wait till 7pm, forcibly strap him down and inject his body with a lethal cocktail of drugs and wait the unknown time it takes until he is dead. With the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles having yesterday rejected his final appeal all legal avenues for clemency have now been exhausted. It did not sway them that the majority of witnesses have for a variety of reasons pointed out in my previous story changed their minds. It did not sway them that there is no DNA or physical evidence linking Troy to the crime and it did not sway them that the real killer has confessed. The Board stated previously they would only approve the execution if there was “NO DOUBT”. There is considerable doubt, not just in the evidence but in the way previous trials and appeal have been conducted and in the way at no point has a panel of judges been united in their decision.

In solidarity with Troy Davis

So much doubt that former President Jimmy Carter, Members of the European Parliament, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Tutu, Jesse Jackson, Marthin Luther King III and former FBI Director under three Presidents William S. Sessions have all called for clemency for Troy. But nothing, these factors and many many others failed to convince the Board that there was even a microcosm of doubt in the case. We know with the help of DNA evidence that many Americans have been executed when they were in fact innocent and many more spared at the last moment by the work of The Innocence Project and other groups with the same DNA methods. Best selling crime author John Grisham for the first time wrote a nonfiction book based exactly on the tales of men waiting to be murdered by the state for crimes they did not commit. The main focus of the book, The Innocent Man, is Ron Williamson a one time Minor Baseball league star who spent 11 years on Death Row for a crime he did not commit.

But because Troy’s DNA was not even present this scenario is an impossibility and he will be executed based on the word of people who have now changed their story and a system that refuses to mend its own error. This is the fourth time an execution date has been set. At the time of the most recent execution date in 2008 Troy refused to accept his “last meal” from the Warden. He would not accept that as an innocent man it would be the final meal he ate. And while I am now resigned to the fact that Troy Davis will be executed by the State of Georgia in solidarity with his courage and conviction I will not eat for what is likely the final 24 hours of his life.

Solidarity is Universal

I do not do this as a protest but simply as an act of solidarity with a man whose faith in his innocence is unwavering. Having been involved in the anti Death Penalty movement for a decade of my young life I know that at these final hours it is rare that any change is made. I have worked on the cases of men I knew the evidence showed their innocence but who were put to death because the machinery of the justice system could not stop itself from killing. I have been involved in the good side of the issue where innocent men have been spared the fate of death because decent human beings decided to exercise sound judgement and vindication was sweet.

I join the NAACP and supporters of Troy Davis in marking the time of his possible execution as a moment to reflect on Troy, the Death Penalty and what we must do around the World to end this most abhorrent of dark age rituals. If a man who has spent the past 20 years on death row can have such courage and conviction then the least we can do is take the time to acknowledge the greater human rights issue this world still grapples with. As an Australian I am disgusted by the silence of the media in our nation. Reprinting general press releases is not journalism! We share a very close alliance and friendship with the United States, but friends must also point out the errors of each others ways.

As Troy sleeps for the final time in this body, as he faces the Warden and guards and refuses to consume his last meal and as he allows them to take his body, but never his innocence or spirit I ask that you remember his words, commit yourself to the advocacy of ending the death penalty and say in your heart or out loud.

“I AM TROY DAVIS”

“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.” Troy Davis

UPDATE: I have been flooded with emails of people wishing to join me “Fasting in Solidarity With Troy”

Troy Davis as he has done in the past will refuse to eat his final meal. He does not believe it should be or will be his last, as he has utter faith in his innocence. So we join with Troy fasting in solidarity with him and act as an echo to his courage and conviction. In fasting we say to the world, “I am Troy Davis” and we unite behind a man who in his suffering has united us against injustice.

Most people can safely go without food for 24 hours, but there are a few people who shouldn’t try it — including kids under 12, the elderly, pregnant or nursing women, and people with certain medical conditions.

If you have any concerns about fasting, be sure to check with a doctor first.

Troy Davis in his own words.

A day before he is set to die by lethal injection in the state of Georgia, Troy Davis has issued this statement.

“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.”

Stop the execution of Troy Davis! Gov. Nathan Deal: phone (404) 651-1776, fax (404) 657-7332, email georgia.governor@gov.state.ga.us

I am Troy Davis – Stop the Execution

In 1991 Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a Georgia police officer in a parking lot. Nearly 20 years later, Troy remains shackled on death row — even though the case against him has fallen apart. On Wednesday the State of Georgia will strap him down, inject a lethal cocktail of drugs and after minutes of harrowing pain, he will be dead!       By Martin Hodgson

In 2001 I opened my Hotmail account to find an email from the NAACP, Davis had filed a habeas corpus writ in the United States District Court and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were urging its members to lobby their congressmen to support the case. Being an Australian citizen there wasn’t much I could do, but I’d grown up with a long-standing interest in the death penalty system in the USA. As a teenager in 1995 I’d seen the film “Dead Man Walking” based on the advocacy work of Sister Helen Prejean who supported a prisoner, guilty, who would later be executed. Based on a true story I knew at the time I was never comfortable with execution even of a guilty man, by the time the email arrived in 2001 I had a well-rounded belief to oppose all capital punishment. I’d spend the next decade of my life studying the death penalty, becoming the Anti Death Penalty Coordinator for FPSS and working on many Death Penalty cases. But I am still Troy Davis…

In 1989 a Police Officer, Mark MacPhail, working as a security guard was brutally shot to death when he intervened in an argument in a restaurant parking lot. A man at the scene, Sylvester “Redd” Coles went to the police and gave them a statement to the effect that Troy had been the killer. Davis was arrested a few days later and was put on trial for the murder of MacPhail. The prosecution relied heavily on witness testimony, many claimed they had seen Davis pull the trigger, while others testified Davis had also confessed to the murder. There was no physical evidence or DNA linking Davis to the murder and no weapon ever found. But the evidence of the witnesses was deemed so strong that in 1991 he was found guilty and sentenced to die. During the trial Davis maintain his innocence, something that has not changed for 20 years.

Young and Old, Black and White, We are all Troy Davis

As anyone familiar with the US death penalty system can attest, appeals are many and varied, the process drags on for years and just as with the execution itself the road to the end is long and painful. There has been State appeals and Federal appeals, hearings by the United States Supreme Court and three previous execution dates set. Complex legal battles have been waged and the judges across all the hearings have never been united in their rulings. The system has evolved to mean that no man or woman alone shoulders the responsibility of an execution. Each and every step allows those who would prevent the execution of an innocent man to pass the buck, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. But if so many testified to the guilt of Davis, how do we know he is innocent and what has left courts struggling to agree on his fate?

While legal complexities only allow certain courts to decide certain aspects of the case the facts themselves do not change. The man who reported Davis to the police was the previously mentioned “Redd” Coles. He had been hanging out with Davis in the parking lot and had started the argument that resulted in Officer MacPhail intervening. Redd had demanded Beer from a homeless man in the car park, Larry Young. Young refused Redd and as he walked off was pistol whipped from behind, in responding the Young’s calls for help MacPhail was shot dead. Immediately anyone with an ounce of common sense would point the finger at the man who had argued with and assault Young, Redd Coles. But it was Redd who would beat all to the punch informing the police it was Davis who had in fact murdered the officer. Redd was never treated as a suspect in the case and acted as a witness in the trial against Davis.

Fast Forward to today and since the initial trial every witness apart from two have gone on the record to say that they had either lied under oath, been compelled to give evidence against Davis or actually believed that Coles was the shooter. The only two people to maintain Davis was guilty is a witness who told police at the time of the murder ” I wouldn’t know the shooter again if I saw him” and was only able to identify Davis in court when he was pointed out. The other to maintain their story that it was Davis and not Redd who had killed MacPhail, Redd Coles.

Further compounding the errors jurors in the initial trial of Troy Davis say if they knew the evidence that is now available to all they would have found him not guilty. Over the years many law experts and Internationally known individuals have called for Clemency for Troy. Former President Jimmy Carter, Members of the European Parliament, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Congressmen/Women, Multiple District Attorneys, Martin Luther King III and Former Director of the FBI under three Presidents William S. Sessions. Over the years hundreds of thousands of individuals have petitioned the State of Georgia to grant Davis clemency, with one petition alone having the names of 600,000 individuals. The support for Davis is unprecedented since Capital Punishment was reinstated in the US in 1976 after it had been abandoned for four years from 1972 after significant controversies.

Even from Death Row Troy Davis has been a uniting force

Now the life of Troy Davis rests in the hands of the Board of Pardons and Paroles who set out a standard for clemency: “[The Board] will not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused.” They will make that decision today and it is hard to see based on the evidence that there is not serious doubt. No murder weapon, no physical or DNA evidence and only the testimony of two people, one the probable killer. But the morality of life and death has been so lost in the complex maze of courts and higher courts, the buck passing from one official to another and the sheer strength of the US Prison Industrial Complex so overpowering that I am not confident of the outcome.

In a decade of studying the death penalty and working on endless cases I have never been so sure that an innocent man could be himself killed for a murder he did not commit. I have seen both innocent and guilty executed not because of the crime they committed but because of the colour of their skin, the failings of their lawyers and the inability of a system to overturn wrong decisions. I have studied the execution reports of Angel Diaz who took an hour to die from lethal injection, a man convicted on the evidence of a jailhouse snitch looking to cut a deal. I have heard Winnie Mandela, Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg appeal for clemency over the highly controversial execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams only to be denied by Governor Schwarzenegger. And I have seen innocent men walk free, one after another, having served 20 or more years on death row only to be saved at the last moment by DNA evidence.

But nothing will be so gut wrenching as to see Troy Davis slowly and painfully executed for a crime the people and the powers know he did not commit. A system so unjust that its rules prevent it from making the wrong decision right and where only those without the capital get the punishment. Not much more can be done, the last papers are being filed and everyone, especially Troy and his family will hold their breath. For a decade I have been Troy Davis, a man, any man in a parking lot. But if they kill him on Wednesday, he, that part of me and of us, is dead! I am Troy Davis!

UPDATE:- Having heard evidence from both sides the Georgia Parole Board has delayed their decision until today (20/09/2011)

If you are in the USA please call the GEORGIA BOARD OF PARDONS & PAROLE

TODAY Between 8:15am – 4:30pm. and DEMAND CLEMENCY FOR TROY DAVIS! (404-656-5651, #0 then #5)

 

 

http://troyanthonydavis.org/

 

http://www.naacp.org/content/main

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