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Page last updated at 22:06 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 23:06 UK

US court halts Georgia execution

Troy Davis (undated picture released by the Georgia Department of Corrections)
Troy Davis admits he was at the scene of the shooting but was not the killer

The US Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution to a man in the state of Georgia, following appeals by campaigners on his behalf.

The reprieve came less than two hours before Troy Davis, 39, was to receive a lethal injection.

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing a policeman, but key witnesses have since recanted their testimonies.

Pope Benedict XVI and former US President Jimmy Carter are among those who have appealed on his behalf.

'Outrage'

Troy Davis was convicted of killing a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in the car park of a fast-food restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, in 1989.

At his trial, nine witnesses gave evidence that he was the man who shot Mr MacPhail.

Davis has admitted being at the scene but has always said that he did not kill the policeman.

Since the trial, most of the prosecution's witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimonies.

Some said they were pressured by the police to provide signed statements.

Davis's lawyers also say post-trial information has emerged implicating another man as the gunman.

The UK-based human-rights group Amnesty International had been among those calling for a reprieve.

"It would be an outrage if the state of Georgia executes Troy Davis regardless of the huge doubts around the safety of his conviction," Amnesty's UK director Kate Allen said.

It is the second time that Troy Davis's execution has been halted. Last July, Georgia's board of pardons and paroles intervened less than 24 hours before it was to be carried out.

But it later ruled that his execution could go ahead and last week, the pardons board refused a clemency appeal.

Twenty-two inmates have been executed since the US Supreme Court ruled in April that lethal injection was constitutional.


SEE ALSO
US convict gets stay of execution
17 Jul 07 |  Americas
Georgia death row inmate executed
07 May 08 |  Americas
US court backs lethal injection
16 Apr 08 |  Americas

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