• Press Release


June 2, 2011


Wrongly Accused of a Crime at Age 18, Guest Says ‘The System Didn’t Work the Way it Was Supposed to…
I Had to Stand Up for Troy the Way Others Stood Up for Me.’

Contact: Wende Gozan Brown at 212-633-4247, [email protected].
David Serota at [email protected].

(Los Angeles) – World-renowned artist Chaz Guest is putting the finishing touches on a gripping painting of Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis, whose case has garnered international attention because of the strong doubts that persist about Davis’ guilt. The poignant and personal story behind the painting has been depicted in a powerful two-minute short directed by David Serota of Dokument films, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0Ftwe8uGVg.

The injustice of Davis’ case immediately resonated with Guest because he had been falsely accused of a robbery when he was 18 years old. “If it wasn’t for the support of my loving family and supporters that believed in me, I don’t know what would have become of my life. The system didn’t work the way it was supposed to,” Guest says in the film. “When I heard about Troy…I knew I had to stand up for him the way others stood up for me. I’m painting this because I believe in justice for all of us.” Davis’ appeal to the United States Supreme Court was recently denied, so he could face an execution date at any time.

To raise awareness about the case among entertainment industry professionals, Guest will unveil his painting, to be sold at a later date, at a June 25 salon at the home of Nancy Moonves. Amnesty International representatives will highlight the case and describe the various ways that attendees can take action. Already Roger Wolfson, a writer for four major television series, has blogged about the case on Huffington Post (http://tinyurl.com/rwtdblog); the event will encourage others to take action and to sign an Amnesty International petition that demands clemency for Davis (www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis).

Troy Davis was convicted of killing Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark Allen MacPhail 20 years ago. Since then, seven of the nine original key witnesses recanted or changed their trial testimony. At a federal court hearing last summer, four of the witnesses admitted that they lied at trial and that they did not know who shot the officer. Another four witnesses implicated another man as the officer’s killer – including one who says he saw the shooting and is related by marriage to the alternate suspect. Most of the prosecution’s witnesses alleged police coercion during questioning. Davis could get a new execution date – his fourth – within several weeks.

Guest, who is well known in the United States for his portrait of Thurgood Marshall, which hangs in the White House Oval Office, and his painting of President Obama, which was used during Obama’s inauguration, joins a chorus of prominent public figures who have spoken in favor of clemency for Davis, including Nobel Laureates Jose Ramos-Horta, former President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former FBI chief William Sessions.

Since the launch of its February 2007 report, Where Is the Justice for Me? The Case of Troy Davis, Facing Execution in Georgia, Amnesty International has campaigned intensively for relief of Davis’ death sentence. On April 12 of this year Amnesty International issued an “Urgent Action” appeal to its global membership on behalf of Davis. Since then, more than 50,000 have signed petitions or written to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to request clemency for Davis.

Dokument Films (DF) is an award-winning company that produces emotional social action and community development content for non-profits, such as films about gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sex trafficking and prostitution in Thailand. The company also produces lifestyle series for brands.

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.

For more information please visit www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis.

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