Sept. 21 - A couple of hundred people protested on the Paris square that was the site of beheadings during revolutionary times to protest the planned execution of Troy Davis in the United States in a case that has aroused strong international opposition. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A couple of hundred people protested on Wednesday (September 21) on the Paris square that was the site of beheadings during revolutionary times to protest the planned execution of Troy Davis in the United States in a case that has aroused strong international opposition. Carrying pictures and placards, protesters from several human rights groups and political parties demonstrated their opposition to the killing on Place de La Concorde, right on the same spot that the guillotine was used to behead hundreds of people in Paris during the revolutionary era in the 1790s. "This execution can't go ahead because there is too much doubt and the decision of the Board of Pardons is just an outrage to justice. It's inhuman, cruel and, we think, really stupid," said Nicolas Krameyer, a senior activist with Amnesty International in Paris. Other demonstrators said they were still hoping for a last-minute reprieve. "One never knows because it happens that two hours, or even one hour before an execution, a reprieve is granted. So we're hoping it'll be like that this time," said Claude Counord, a demonstrator. Such is the international attention that the case has attracted, that an online protest has accumulated nearly one million signatures because of doubts expressed in some quarters over whether he killed police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. Since his conviction, seven of nine witnesses have changed or recanted their testimony, some have said they were coerced by police to testify against Davis and some say another man committed the crime. No physical evidence linked Davis to the crime. Davis has launched a last-bid attempt to avoid death by lethal injection by seeking a polygraph test, a decision that lays with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles but on Tuesday it denied him clemency following a one-day hearing. Davis was convicted of murdering MacPhail outside a Burger King restaurant, shooting him twice as he went to rescue a homeless man who was being beaten. The victim's family says Davis is guilty and should be executed.