(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Brian Evans, Amnesty International USA’s campaign director of the abolition of the death penalty issued the following statement marking the two-year anniversary of the execution of Troy Davis. Amnesty International mobilized hundreds of thousands of people globally to stop this execution but Georgia executed Davis, despite major inconsistencies in witness testimonies and doubts about his guilt.
“The execution of Troy Davis showed us many things, but one thing it demonstrated most clearly was that states cannot be trusted with the power of killing their prisoners. Even if the death penalty wasn’t already in and of itself, the ultimate abuse of human rights, it’s too awesome a power for such a flawed, fallible entity.
“Efforts to restrain the power by requiring it to be applied fairly have failed. Courts have been stripped of their ability to review and efforts to ensure that the punishment is meted out without bias or error have fallen pathetically short. There is no humane way to deliberately kill a human being.
“From start to finish, the Davis case was fraught with errors. Its handling should be fully investigated as it is emblematic of a dysfunctional capital punishment system that fails to provide real justice. Abolishing the death penalty is essential. Maybe abandoning executions will be the first step in changing U.S. attitudes towards criminal justice as a whole, and the current obsession with ‘toughness’ will be replaced with a genuine focus on justice and human rights.”
Since Troy Davis’ execution, Amnesty International members and other human rights activists have called for more thorough investigations into the handling of his case. The U.S. Attorney General and the state of Georgia have not taken significant steps towards such an investigation.
While there is a national trend for states to repeal capital punishment – the latest include Connecticut and Maryland – Florida, Georgia and other states continue to utilize the death penalty, even in cases where convincing evidence of guilt is lacking. In Florida, despite more death row exonerations than any other state, laws have been enacted to speed up executions.
Amnesty International calls on people around the world to honor Davis by taking action online at www.amnestyusa.org/pledge4troy and through social media using the hash tag #Pledge4Troy and #IAmTroyDavis.
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, truth and dignity are denied.