"Tonight the state of Georgia legally lynched an innocent man," Troy Davis' lawyer Thomas Ruffin Jr. said. "Tonight I witnessed something tragic."
Davis, whose case drew international attention, is now dead, executed for the 1989 killing of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Georgia, a crime he quite likely did not commit, a crime riddled with grave doubt.
Until the very end, he maintained his innocence. After being strapped to the death gurney, he lifted his head to address the family of the slain officer, once again saying he was not responsible for the officer's death and did not have a gun at the time, according to execution witnesses.
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The pleas of Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and a host of other well-known and lesser known human rights and justice advocates were to no avail.
Amnesty International was among the organizations that condemned the execution. It issued a statement saying, "the U.S. justice system was shaken to its core as Georgia executed a person who may well be innocent. Killing a man under this enormous cloud of doubt is horrific and amounts to a catastrophic failure of the justice system."
Shame on us. Shame on U.S. laws that allow capital punishment in such irretrievable unjustice. Let us hope that this tragedy leads to further scrutiny and reform of our legal system.