USA. SUPREME COURT ISSUES STAY OF EXECUTION FOR DAVIS
September 23, 2008: the US Supreme Court granted a last minute reprieve to a Georgia man,¬†less than¬†than two hours before his scheduled execution for the 1989 slaying of an off-duty police officer.
Troy Anthony Davis learned that his execution had been stayed when he saw it on television.
Davis always¬†maintained he didn't kill Mark MacPhail, a police officer from Savannah, Georgia. The US Supreme Court was the last¬†hope for Davis to have his execution postponed.
Supporters of the 39 year old have called for a new trial as seven of the nine witnesses who initially testified that Davis was the killer have recanted. There was no physical evidence presented at his trial, and no weapon was found. But Davis' petitions for a new trial have been denied.
Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing the officer as he responded to an altercation in a Burger King parking lot.
Many¬†people have¬†asked Georgia to grant Davis a new trial: celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Harry Belafonte and world leaders including former President Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
On July 2, Radical Euro Parliamentarians Marco Cappato and Marco Pannella asked for the suspension of Troy Davis‚Äô death sentence. The two parliamentarians sent a letter to the "Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles" as well as to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, asking for the immediate suspension of the death sentence. Cappato and Pannella have pushed for the Italian Government to intervene and pressure the relevant authorities in Georgia.¬†
The ALDE group at the European Parliament in Strasbourg also supported the Radical Parliamentarians‚Äô proposal for Troy.¬†On July 10, the European Parliament adopted a resolution proposed by the Radicals, reaffirming their active commitment against the death penalty. The Parliament¬†ruled in favour of Troy Davis. In the resolution, the European Parliament asked "countries in which the death penalty is still applied to complete the necessary steps towards its abolition. We request that, in light of the numerous attempts to overturn the sentence, the court responsible offers Troy Davis a new trial. His death sentence¬†should therefore be commuted. We ask the Georgia Pardon Board¬†to urgently commute the death sentence, and¬†we invite the Council President and the European Commission delegation¬†in the United States to urgently address the¬†issue with the American authorities." (Sources: CNN, AP, 24/09/2008)