Executing Troy Davis could lead to ‘a tragic injustice’, says PACE rapporteur

Strasbourg, 21.09.2011 - Renate Wohlwend (Liechtenstein, EPP/CD), rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on abolition of the death penalty, has made a last-ditch appeal to the Georgian authorities to refrain from executing Troy Davis.

Mr Davis, who was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of a police officer, faces execution by lethal injection later today.

“Following the decision of the Georgia parole board to deny Troy Davis clemency, I appeal to the Georgian authorities, even at this late hour, not to carry out his execution,” said Mrs Wohlwend. “To carry out this irrevocable act now would be a terrible mistake which could lead to a tragic injustice.”

“As Amnesty International and many others have shown, there is serious doubt about Mr Davis’s conviction. Since his trial, seven out of nine key witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony, some alleging police coercion, and many believe that another man has been identified as the perpetrator of the crime.

The Council of Europe is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances – but in this case, there exists the real possibility that an innocent man will go to his death. It is precisely because of this risk that three US states have recently legislated to abolish the death penalty.

Mr Davis's execution has already been delayed three times. Not only as a humanitarian gesture, but above all for the sake of justice, I appeal for his life.”