US execution of Troy Davis 'irreparable error': France

21st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The imminent execution in the United States of Troy Davis, convicted of killing an off duty police officer in 1989, would be an "irreparable error", the French foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

"By executing a convict over whose guilt there are serious doubts (US justice) would be committing an irreparable error," deputy spokesman Romain Nadal said hours before Davis was due to be executed in the state of Georgia.

"France deeply regrets the Georgia state parole board's refusal to grant clemency," Nadal said after the board cleared the way for Davis' execution in a case that has become an international cause celebre for death penalty opponents.

France "calls one last time on the prosecutor and the Georgia authorities to stop the execution, with real and serious doubts remaining over (his) guilt," Nadal said.

Davis was convicted of shooting to death an off-duty police officer who intervened in a brawl in a parking lot in Savannah, Georgia, in 1989, but there was no physical evidence and several witnesses later recanted their testimony.

The campaign to spare his life drew high-profile support from former US president Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI, helping Davis escape three previous dates with death during more than two decades of legal manoeuvring.

All avenues now appear exhausted as Georgia's governor does not have the power to stay executions and experts said any last-minute filings to the state courts or the US Supreme Court would likely prove unsuccessful.

Barring an unexpected turn of events, Davis will be put to death by lethal injection at 2300 GMT on Wednesday at a prison in Jackson, south of Atlanta, with the victim's widow and children looking on.

Davis repeatedly has maintained his innocence and his supporters pointed to a corrupt justice system in the deep South, saying a black man was wrongly and hastily convicted of killing a white police officer.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has said that the prosecution's case against Davis long ago had been shown to be flawed.

© 2011 AFP

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