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Europe unites behind Troy Davis clemency appeal

Forty-seven European governments have united behind Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland’s last minute plea to American authorities to spare death row inmate Troy Davis’ life.

Representatives of the governments who serve on the organisation’s Committee of Ministers, today reaffirmed their “unwavering opposition” to the death penalty and backed the Secretary General’s clemency request.

In his appeal, Jagland urged the American authorities to “find a way to spare the life of Troy Davis,” due to the “serious doubts” about his 1989 murder conviction.

The Secretary General added: “The reason is not only our disagreement over capital punishment, but first and foremost the serious doubts which persist about the integrity of the conviction.

“I hope this appeal will not be perceived as outside interference. Europe is a close ally and a friend of the United States of America, and at moments like this, true friends are the ones who speak out, with the respect and honesty that our relationship deserves.

The execution of Davis is due to take place today.

“To carry out this irrevocable act would be a terrible mistake which could lead to a tragic injustice,” said Renate Wohlwend, the Parliamentary Assembly’s rapporteur on abolition of the death penalty.

The Essential

Audio: Troy Davis’ 2008 message to the Council of Europe

Video: Q& A on capital punishment (2009) & (2008)

Interview: Human rights campaigner Clive Stafford Smith

Webfile: ‘Death Is Not Justice’ – Europe against the death penalty

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