Strange Bedfellows: The Death Penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal and the European Parliament
By Victor Grossman
Berlin -- What do the USA, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and North Korea have in common?
The answer may surprise you.
The European Parliament answered this question \on October 2nd with passage of a resolution singling out that seemingly disparate list for criticism.
The embarrassing common thread among these six countries: an obsession with putting lots of people to death. The US, its key oil ally Saudi Arabia, its major trading partner China, its targeted enemies of Iran and North Korea, and its puppet ally Iraq all endorse the barbaric state-sanctioned practice of the death penalty, and lead the world in applying that terrible and irreversable sanction.
In a long, detailed EU Parliament resolution, approved almost unanimously by 574 members (only 25 opposed and 39 abstained), the members from all over Europe named people languishing on death rows and threatened with execution in several countries.
That EU resolution specifically highlighted two American death row inmates: Mumia Abu-Jamal in Pennsylvania and Troy Davis in Georgia. Both of these black men were convicted of killing white police officers in trials marred by ineffective defense and gross misconduct by police and prosecutors. The twin defects of ineffectiveness and misconduct are a common feature in many of the three-thousand-plus persons on death rows across America, and especially in the nearly 140 cases that have been overturned thanks to DNA testing or other belatedly discovered proof of innocence.
In the Abu-Jamal and Davis cases, federal and state appeals courts in America have dismissed compelling new evidence of innocence and documented legal improprieties violating the constitutional rights of these two inmates.
In the Davis case, a federal judge in June 2010 rejected professions from four persons who said they lied during Davis’ 1991 trial and also rejected testimony from three witnesses who named the real killer, including one witness who testified to seeing the real killer shoot the policeman.
Both Abu-Jamal and Davis has consistently maintained their innocence.
True, as this EU resolution pointed out, the USA cannot match China, which killed about 5000 inmates last year, but it is was still near the top behind Iran, with 402, Iraq at least 77 and Saudi Arabia with at least 69. In the USA the number executed was 52. The EU delegates also voiced regret at the recent executions of Holly Wood in Alabama and Teresa Lewis in Virginia despite both women being mentally retarded.
For the rest of this article by VICTOR GROSSMAN in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online newspaper, please go to:ThisCantbBeHappening!