Despite pleas from human rights organizations and a petition signed by 90,000 supporters, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles today denied clemency to Kelly Gissendaner. She is scheduled to be executed tonight.
Gissendaner, 46, was sentenced to death for planning the 1997 killing of her husband. The man who killed her husband was given a life sentence for testifying against her and will be up for parole in eight years.
Gissendaner has since completed a theological certificate through an educational program run by Emory University and has served as a pastoral advisor for other prisoners. Gissendaner’s children have called for clemency. Her execution will mark the first time Georgia has executed a woman in 70 years.
“It is unacceptable that this cruel and inhuman punishment should be allowed to continue,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “The death penalty system is irrevocably broken. It is time to end it once and for all.”
Amnesty International USA opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception as cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. As of today, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. The U.S. was one of only nine countries in the world that carried out executions each year between 2009 and 2013.