Saturday, May 30, 2009

Message from NAACP President Ben Jealous on Troy Davis -- Lift the Gag Order, Let Troy Speak

A few hours ago, I met with Troy Davis on death row.

As you know, he is facing the death penalty in Georgia for killing a police officer -- but since his trial, seven out of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony. And with no physical evidence to link him to the crime, it is likely he is innocent.

Besides the fact that Troy is facing execution for a crime that he may not have committed, he also told me that he is being denied the right to speak out on his own behalf despite the fact that others in his position are allowed to do so.

Please contact Commissioner Brian Owens of the Georgia Department of Corrections to demand that he remove the gag order on Troy Davis.  

In my meeting with Troy, I discovered that 60 Minutes, Dateline, and the Associated Press have all been denied media access to Troy. When Georgia won't let the media talk to the accused man, it is a flagrant abuse of his First Amendment rights.

In fact, the case of Troy Davis highlights how broken our criminal justice system is... and why we must reform it. Today, more than 60% of the people in prison are people of color. African Americans make up more than 40% of those on death row. This summer, the NAACP will launch a campaign to reform our country's criminal justice system with the goal of making our communities safer, improving police performance, saving money, and keeping more of our young men and women out of prison. But Troy can't wait for this summer. We need your help now.  

An innocent man may be executed. You and I must work together to reform our country's criminal justice system, and we must start by saving the life of one man. Please contact Commissioner Brian Owens of the Georgia Department of Corrections today and demand he give Troy the right to speak. 



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