As Execution Date Nears, Mass Support Builds for Troy Davis from Notable Leaders, Georgia-Based Artists, Individuals Worldwide

Press Release
September 13, 2011

As Execution Date Nears, Mass Support Builds for Troy Davis from Notable Leaders, Georgia-Based Artists, Individuals Worldwide

From Justice Norman Fletcher and Bob Barr to Cee Lo Green and R.E.M., Georgians of All Stripes Call for Clemency for Davis

Contact:  Wende Gozan Brown, 212-633-4247; wgozan@aiusa.org.

(Atlanta) – As Troy Davis’ execution date looms, support for his clemency campaign has swelled with hundreds of thousands of people worldwide taking action, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) reported today.  From luminaries such as Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta to singer-songwriter Cee Lo Green, the number of people calling for clemency for Davis continues to grow exponentially.

The increase is particularly notable at the local level.  Among the petition signatures that Amnesty International has collected from around the world, 26,000 come from Georgia residents. As word of the case has spread, so has support from all corners of Georgia – be it in the form of letters to the parole board from former President Jimmy Carter and Norman Fletcher, former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, to Tweets from R.E.M.

Twitter has become a popular means of voicing support for Davis, with Russell Simmons, John Legend, Tim Roth and Mia Farrow all posting Tweets that urge followers to sign the petition (#TooMuchDoubt). 

“This is a case that has resonated with Americans of all stripes,” said Larry Cox, executive director of AIUSA.  “When serious questions about someone’s guilt permeate a case, it brings together liberals and conservatives, those who oppose the death penalty and those who are staunch supporters.  In the case of Troy Davis, hundreds of thousands are raising their voices to say there is simply too much doubt to execute.” 

The degree of support will be evident this week, when Amnesty International, the NAACP and other organizations deliver hundreds of thousands of letters and petition signatures to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles this Thursday at 10:30 a.m.  On Friday, more than a thousand people are expected to participate in a 6:00 p.m. march from Atlanta’s Woodruff Park, led by death row exonerees and the national leaders of AIUSA and NAACP.   The march will end at Ebenezer Baptist Church where there will be an evening program of prayer, songs and speakers.  Georgia’s Indigo Girls are expected to performas well as gospel choirs.  The event is one of more than 100 that will take place across the United States and in countries from Peru to Hong Kong as part of Amnesty International’s Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis.

“While we have no doubt that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles takes very seriously its role as the final failsafe for justice, this is a case that has ignited the passions of thousands,” said Laura Moye, director of AIUSA’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign.  “It is critical that, as the organization that brought this case to the attention of so many, Amnesty International provides people with a positive means to express themselves.”

Support for Davis has come from all corners of the world.  Notable leaders include Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Pope Benedict XVI, former Georgia congressman Bob Barr; former FBI director William Sessions; the Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery; Ron Hampton, former Executive Director of the National Black Police Association; Stefan Trechsel, International Criminal Court Judge; Bishop Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, Roman Catholic Church; Bishop Bolan, Bishop of Savannah, Roman Catholic Church; and Larry D. Thompson, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States.

Rep. John Lewis(GA-05) and Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) yesterday sent a letter signed by more than 50 members of the U.S. Congress to the Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles, urging clemency for Davis.  A diverse group of artists have also voiced their support: folk legend Joan Baez, indie rock band State Radio, and singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, as well as actors Mike Farrell, Susan Sarandon, Nazanin Boniadi, Miriam Margolyes and Morgan Fairchild.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.

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