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Georgia Department of Corrections/AP
Troy Davis

EU Criticizes United States Over Death Penalty

October 23, 2008 05:52 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
In another attempt to push an anti-death penalty stance worldwide, the European Union has spoken out against U.S. plans to execute Troy Davis.

EU Speaks Out

Davis received a death sentence for the 1989 murder of 27-year-old Mark MacPhail, a Savannah police officer. According to ABC News, “seven of nine key witnesses against him (Davis) have recanted their testimony,” prompting the European parliament, as well as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter to protest the execution.

Amnesty International has also spoken out in defense of Davis, and is holding a “Global Day of Action for Troy Davis” rally in Atlanta on Oct. 23, 2008. 

The European Union has long been steadfastly opposed to the use of capital punishment, protesting against high profile U.S. executions, including that of Saddam Hussein.

The New York Times reported that the EU “recoiled” when Hussein was sentenced, but “many people in Central and Eastern Europe applauded the death sentence.” The conflict highlighted “a deeper debate” over capital punishment in the EU, stemming from World War II.

Background: Anti-death penalty legislation

In October 2007, the EU held its first anti-death penalty day. Poland attempted to thwart the occasion, maintaining that abortion and euthanasia should also be banned. According to the BBC, all 27 EU states, except Poland, Ireland and Malta, have banned capital punishment.

In February 2007, the EU supported the idea of an international death penalty ban, and condemned the December 2006 execution of Saddam Hussein, Reuters reported. In a statement, the EU parliament said it “condemned the execution of Saddam Hussein and the media’s exploitation of his hanging and deplores the way it was carried out.”

Related Topic: Capital punishment in Uganda

This month, the EU urged Uganda to abolish the death penalty. Ambassador Vincent de Visscher, the Head of the European Commission to Uganda, called corporal punishment “cruel and inhumane” and a “denial of human dignity and integrity,” reported

Reference: The death penalty in detail


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