Monday, May 18, 2009

*Free Troy Davis- Down With The Death Penalty!

Guest Commentary

This news item is passed on from the Partisan Defense Committee. I add my voice to this chorus. Free Troy Davis! Down With the Death Penalty!

Death Penalty Appeal Denied

Free Troy Davis!

On April 16, a federal appeals court in Atlanta turned down a petition for habeas corpus by Troy Davis, who was framed up and convicted in 1991 for the killing of a cop. Davis, who was just two hours away from execution last September, is again facing legal lynching.

In refusing to even consider the overwhelming evidence of Davis’s innocence, the federal court relied on Bill Clinton’s 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which virtually eliminated the right of habeas corpus appeal for those sentenced to death in state courts. This law has also been the pretext for the federal courts’ refusal to hear evidence of death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s innocence. Davis has until May 16 to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the same racist court that refused to consider his case last October. In the 1993 case of Leonel Herrera, the Supreme Court declared that execution of an innocent man did not violate the Constitution. The following May 2 protest letter was sent by the Partisan Defense Committee—a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization associated with the Spartacist League—to Georgia governor George Ervin Perdue.

We are again writing to protest the threatened execution of Troy Anthony Davis. On April 16, in a two to one decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals grotesquely denied Davis’s appeal despite the massive evidence that he is innocent. His legal lynching is now stayed for 30 days, pending an appeal to the pro-death penalty U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Davis’s conviction was based on the testimony of “eyewitnesses” who were intimidated by policemen to falsely implicate him in the death of a white off-duty police officer. Seven of the nine prosecution witnesses have since recanted, several citing police misconduct. Evidence has shown that one of those still maintaining his original testimony is himself a suspect in the killing. The dissenting judge in the recent federal court decision said that the execution of Davis, “in the face of a significant amount of the proffered evidence that may establish his actual innocence,” was “unconscionable.”

Thousands of protests worldwide, including from Amnesty International and the Vatican, have railed against the execution of Troy Davis. The death penalty is cruel and barbaric. In the United States it is the racist legacy of centuries of slavery: it is the lynch rope made legal. We once again demand this racist atrocity be stopped and that Troy Davis be freed.

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