Thursday, September 22, 2011

  • Democracy Now! Special Report from Troy Davis Execution: Did Georgia Kill an Innocent Man?

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    Troy Anthony Davis was killed by lethal injection by the state of Georgia at 11:08 p.m. EDT last night, despite widespread doubts about his guilt. The execution occurred shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stop the execution. Democracy Now! was the only news outlet to continuously broadcast live from the prison grounds last night, where hundreds of supporters Troy Davis held an all-day vigil in Jackson, Georgia. Today we hear the voices of Troy Davis’s sister Martina Correia, hip-hop artist Big Boi, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Ed DuBose of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, two members of the Troy Davis legal team, and more. We also hear from journalist Jon Lewis, a witness to the execution: "[Davis] said to the family [of slain police officer Mark MacPhail] that he was sorry for their loss, but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother. He said to them to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth... And then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said 'who are going to take my life,' he said to them, 'May God have mercy on your souls.' And his last words were to them: 'May God bless your souls.'" [includes rush transcript]

  • Freed in Iran: U.S. Hikers Urge Freedom for All Political Prisoners

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    After more than two years spent in an Iranian prison on allegations of spying and trespassing, American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were released yesterday. After a week of conflicting statements from the Iranian judiciary and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the pair were finally granted bail and handed over to Swiss diplomats. They were taken to Oman, where they were joyfully reunited with their families. In a brief press conference in Iran, Bauer said, "Two years in prison is too long, and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran." President Obama welcomed the news and thanked the leaders of Oman and Iraq, who helped to negotiate the hikers’ release, as well as the Swiss government, whose embassy in Tehran looks after American interests there. Some analysts have speculated that Ahmadinejad wished to project a magnanimous image as he takes to the world stage today in his address to the United Nations General Assembly. In July 2009, Bauer and Fattal were arrested, along with Sarah Shourd, while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border. Bauer is a freelance journalist who has contributed to Democracy Now! and other media outlets. Fattal is an environmental activist. Shourd was released last year. Joining us today is their American friend who was with them on their vacation in Iraq. Shon Meckfessel says he was not feeling well the morning of the hike, so he stayed behind at their hotel. On the morning of July 31, he set out to join them near a waterfall, when Shane telephoned him to say that they had been detained. Now, more than two years later, his friends have finally been released. [includes rush transcript]