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Execution in US State of Georgia Provokes International Outcry

Georgia Department of Corrections' handout photo of Troy Davis
Georgia Department of Corrections' handout photo of Troy Davis

There has been international condemnation of the execution in the U.S. of a man convicted in the 1989 murder of a police officer. Defense lawyers for Troy Davis, as well as a number of high-profile world figures, said he was innocent and should not have been put to death.

Davis died by lethal injection late Wednesday in the state of Georgia after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal to spare his life.

The European Union expressed "deep regret" at the execution, while Amnesty International called it "a catastrophic failure" of the U.S. justice system. Thousands of people around the world had rallied on Davis' behalf in recent days.

In his final statement, witnesses said Davis told the family of slain officer Mark MacPhail that he did not take the life of their son, father and brother - and did not own a gun.

MacPhail's family stood by the ruling that Davis was guilty. His widow said Davis had "ample time to prove his innocence."

The case drew attention for having no physical evidence linking him to the crime. Seven of the nine witnesses who helped convict Davis have retracted or recanted their testimony.

The case was also racially-charged - with many critics claiming Davis, an African American, was unjustly charged for the shooting death of MacPhail, a white man. Davis' attorney compared the execution to slavery and the lynching of African-Americans.

Davis' lawyers had appealed to President Barack Obama to stop the execution, but a White House spokesman said it was "not appropriate" for the president to weigh in on specific cases.

Pope Benedict, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former FBI director and conservative Georgia politicians are among those who questioned Davis' guilt.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.