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Amnesty Protest Death Penalty In America

Amnesty International Highlights America's And George W Bush' S Appalling Death Penalty Record

Amnesty International New Zealand will protest the heinous use of the death penalty by America and George W Bush on the eve of his presidential inauguration.

A vigil will occur outside the:
American Consulate
(Citibank Building, 23 Customs Street East, Auckland)
Friday, January 19

"As the United States inaugurates a new president, state executioners have already killed the first of 13 prisoners set to die this month", says Amnesty International New Zealand Anti-Death Penalty Co-ordinator, John Lee.

"We, as members of Amnesty International in New Zealand, believe that the United States of America must recognize the damage being done to its international reputation by this relentless and increasingly isolated use of a punishment which fallible, brutal and has no demonstrable effect on violent crime."

The inherent flaws within the death penalty are revealed when looking at just four of the 13 people to be executed in America this month.

Wanda Jean Allen's jury was left unaware of her substantial mental impairments due to her lawyer's inexperience and inadequate resources.

Dion Smallwood, suffering from serious untreated mental illness at the time of his crime, is due to be executed in Oklahoma imminently (18 January American time)

Bobby Harris is due to be executed in North Carolina tomorrow (19 January American time). His lawyer was so ill with cancer that he failed to prepare adequately for the trial, and the jury never heard important mitigating evidence.

Philip Workman is due to be put to death in Tennessee on 31 January for killing a police officer during a robbery. There is strong evidence that he did not fire the fatal bullet.

During George W. Bush's five-year governorship, 152 men and women were put to death in Texas, almost twice the amount killed in any other state in over two decades. In many cases, Texas violated international human rights safeguards in its pursuit of judicial killing.

"President Bill Clinton failed to take any meaningful stand against violations of US obligations relating to the death penalty occurring at state level. Despite George W Bush's disturbing record on capital punishment, Amnesty International calls on him to broaden his view of justice and to take into account international standards of human rights and decency," says Mr Lee.

"A majority of countries have turned their backs on the death penalty and found alternative ways to confront violent crime. It's time America did the same," concludes Mr Lee.

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