Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, because:
• We believe it is a violation of two fundamental human rights: the right
to life, and the right not to be tortured or subject to any cruel, inhuman or
• If a mistake is made it cannot be corrected. In the USA a 1987 study
showed that 350 innocent people had been condemned to death since
1900 and 23 of them were executed.
• It is often used against certain groups of people more than others,
such as people from poor backgrounds or of particular races.
• Capital punishment does not deter crime. Studies by the UN and
others show the death penalty does not stop crime any better than other
10 KEY FACTS ON THE DEATH PENALTY
1: China executes more people every year than all other countries in
the world put together
2: More than two-thirds of the world (139 countries) has abolished the
death penalty in law or practice
3: Last year 18 countries executed people
4: One man in Japan (Hakamada Iwao) has been on death row since
1968 - he is believed to be the world’s longest-serving death row
5: Belarus is the only country in Europe still carrying out executions
6: In 2009 there were 106 death sentences passed in the USA, the
lowest number since the resumption of capital punishment there in
7: In Iran there are at least 11 people who have been sentenced to
death by stoning. These include Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who
according to some reports, has now had her sentence “stopped”
8: The last executions in the UK took place in 1964; in 2009 a
British man - Akmal Shaikh - was executed in China, despite claims
he was mentally ill
9: There are over 3,000 prisoners on death row in the United
States; in Pakistan there are an estimated 7,000
10: In the case of Troy Davis - a man on death row in Georgia, USA
for over 19 years - seven of the nine witnesses who gave evidence
against him later recanted or changed their initial testimonies in
USA AND THE DEATH PENALTY
In the USA, the decision about whether to abolish the death penalty
is made at state level. There are 50 states and so far 15 states
have abolished it. Out of the 35 states that still have the death
penalty, some apply it far more regularly than others.
USA AND THE DEATH PENALTY
Amnesty has long argued that the death penalty is applied in a
discriminatory way in the United States in that it disproportionately
affects certain groups of people, particularly black men.
• The likelihood of a death sentence is 4 times higher for cases with
white victims than for cases with black victims
• The likelihood of a death sentence is 11 times higher in cases in
which blacks killed whites than for cases where whites killed blacks
(Amnesty report, Killing with Prejudice: Race and the Death
Penalty in the USA, 1/5/99).
Troy Davis is now 42
years old; he was given
the death sentence a
month before his 23rd
Troy Anthony Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for
the murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, in
Savannah, Georgia. Troy Davis, who has always
maintained his innocence, was convicted solely on the
basis of eye witness testimony. There was no physical
evidence identifying him as the gunman and the weapon
used in the crime was never found.
Most of the state's witnesses who testified against him at
the original trial have since withdrawn or contradicted
their testimony. There were also allegations that some
witnesses testified under police pressure.
Troy Davis has faced execution 3 times - each time his
execution has been stopped. On one occasion he was
just two hours away from death.
In June we let you know that the US
Supreme Court took the highly unusual
step of granting Troy another chance to
prove his innocence. This was a
tremendous opportunity but also a very
challenging one. The standard required
to prove his innocence was incredibly
Although further evidence was
presented at the hearing in June which
cast continuing doubt over the case, the judge ruled that Troy Davis did not
clearly establish his innocence. Amnesty is deeply concerned that this
decision puts Troy back on track for execution, despite ongoing doubts
about his guilt.
TAKE ACTION: SIGN THE PETITION
Amnesty USA have told us the most important thing people can do now
is to help us continue to collect petitions – electronic and paper
versions. They intend to deliver them to the appropriate authorities to
show them the level of support that there is for him. They are closely
monitoring the case and are planning to present the signatures at a
moment when it will have the greatest impact on the case.
Visit www.amnesty.org.uk/troydavis, click “Sign the Petition” and
then click the “Download a Copy” link to download a version you
can get friends and family to sign. Return to Megan to send off to
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