Despite pleas from human rights organizations and a petition to the governor signed by 40,000 supporters, the state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Kelly Gissendaner tonight at 7 p.m. ET.
Gissendaner, 46, was sentenced to death for planning the 1997 killing of her husband. The man who killed her husband, her then-boyfriend, was given a life sentence for testifying against her and will be up for parole in eight years.
Gissendaner has since completed a theological degree through an educational program run by Emory University and has served as a pastoral advisor for other prisoners. Her execution will mark the first time Georgia has executed a woman in over 70 years.
“Every execution is a blight on the human rights record of the United States,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “As long as prisoners continue to face this ultimate punishment, the U.S. cannot truly claim to be a leader in human rights.”
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.