No chance to stop lethal injustice?
Davis’s execution by lethal injection was scheduled for 23:00 GMT on Wednesday but is now delayed, as Georgia prison officials wait for the Supreme Court decision on appeal.
Earlier, the Butts County Superior Court rejected a last-minute appeal filed by Davis’s attorneys to halt his execution. The defense team argued that ballistic testing that linked Davis to the shooting was flawed.
Davis, 42, was convicted by a jury in the state of Georgia of the murder of off-duty security officer Mark MacPhail back in 1991 and has been on death row since then, protesting his innocence all that time.
As the last appeal Davis’ lawyers asked prisons officials to let him take a polygraph test, which was also rejected by authorities.
This Georgia Department of Corrections handout photo shows death row inmate Troy Davis. (AFP Photo)
The court’s decision has become a high concern for millions of people around the world, including high-profile personalities who have spoken on behalf of Davis over the years. Pope Benedict XVI and former US President Jimmy Carter are among those who consider the sentence to be too severe. Just a week ago, former FBI director William S Sessions also pleaded for Davis’s freedom.
Some European legislators are making their appeals to the state of Georgia.
“To carry out this irrevocable act now would be a terrible mistake which could lead to a tragic injustice,” said Renate Wohlwend from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly.
More than one million of common people worldwide have signed a petition to try and prevent Davis’s execution.
Amnesty International and other groups held a protest in Paris outside the US Embassy later on Wednesday. They say that Georgia has discredited the justice system and will execute an innocent man.
Davis supporters are calling on prison staff to strike and are hoping that the White House will intervene, which could be the last chance for mercy.
“The voices of Troy supporters are growing,” Michael Stark from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty told RT. “There are a whole range of decision makers in this case, whether it’s the numerous courts that have the power to intervene, the DA in the case or Georgia Board of Parole and Pardons, which actually has the power to reconsider this horrible decision. So the chain always breaks at the weakest link. I cannot predict where it is, but as activists we are going to keep pressing and pushing to make sure that justice is served.”
Journalist and human rights activist Deborah Dupre says the execution will be a crime in itself.
“This is unconscionable that the Georgian Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied relief to Troy Davis, sending a man to death under such doubt about his guilt. It’s just outrageous,” she told RT. “It puts every American at risk. If this could happen to Troy Davis, it could happen to anybody. And the fact that he’s been tortured for 20 years – and that’s what being in solitary confinement is – [is] just another violation the United States is committing.”
“We have 100,000 people on death row. That’s big business for the prison industry,” Deborah Dupre added.
Far-fetched evidence played against Davis
But prosecutors and MacPhail's relatives never had any doubt that the right man was being punished. Mark MacPhail was killed off-duty while employed as a security guard in Savannah, Georgia in 1989.
No murder weapon was ever found and no DNA evidence or fingerprints conclusively linked Troy Davis to the shooting. Moreover, since the first trial, seven of the nine initial witnesses have either altered or taken back their testimonies.
During more than two decades of prosecution, three execution dates set for Davis were successfully postponed by his bids for clemency. Georgia initially planned to execute Davis in July 2007.
In 2010, Davis had his most tangible chance to avoid execution, but the court ruled that the new evidence cast some additional but only "minimal doubt on his conviction" and upheld it.