Media Advisory: 12/13 press conference urging US support for UN death penalty moratorium
For Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Death Row Exonerees, Religious and Civil Rights Groups, and Political Leaders Call on U.S. to Support UN Death Penalty Moratorium Resolution Leaders to Gather to Urge Biden Administration to Follow Through on Its Pledge to End the Death Penalty
WASHINGTON, DC – Witness to Innocence (WTI), a U.S. based organization led by exonerated death row survivors, along with Catholic and Civil Rights groups, and political leaders will hold a press conference at 3:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at the National Press Club to call on the U.S. to support the UN’s “Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty” resolution due for a vote on December 15 at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Joined by Maryland’s 61st Governor, Martin O’Malley, Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, and Rev. Carlos Malavé, President of the Latino Christian National Network, WTI Death Row Exonerees Kwame Ajamu, Herman Lindsey, Kirk Bloodsworth, Sabrina Butler-Smith, Ray Krone, Shujaa Graham and Alfred Rivera will share their stories of wrongful conviction and incarceration on death row to illustrate that capital punishment is a form of torture and a human rights issue, as it is seen in most countries worldwide. To date, 190 innocent people have been exonerated from US death rows since 1973. CMN Executive Director Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy will discuss how Catholic Church urges all people of goodwill to mobilize for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide because it violates the sanctity of life. Rev. Carlos Malavé will call on US leaders to live up to our aspiration to be a beacon of justice in the world.
In November, a majority of UNGA 3rd Committee members voted in favor of the draft resolution A/C.3/77/L.44 for a universal moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The resolution was adopted by 126 UN member states while 37 countries voted against it (including the U.S.), 24 abstained, and six did not take part in the vote. This is the highest number of votes in support of a death penalty moratorium since the submission of the first resolution in 2007, reflecting the global trend away from capital punishment. Member countries may change their position up until the final vote.
President Biden has pledged to work towards ending the death penalty and Attorney General Merrick Garland issued moratorium on federal executions in July 2021. Advocates are suggesting supporting the UN resolution is another key step to fulfilling this promise.
WHAT: Press Conference in Support of UN Death Penalty Moratorium Resolution
WHEN: Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET;
WHO: Speakers are available for interviews.
Martin O’Malley, Maryland’s 61st Governor, former Mayor of Baltimore and Commissioner, International Commission Against the Death Penalty.
Rev. Carlos Malavé, President of the Latino Christian National Network
Kwame Ajamu, Board Chair, Witness to Innocence, Wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death as a teenager in Ohio, exonerated 39 years later.
Kirk Bloodsworth, 1st person exonerated from death row by DNA, Namesake for post-conviction DNA testing federal grant, honorably discharged Marine.
Sabrina Butler-Smith, 1st woman exonerated from death row, Wrongfully convicted as a teenager in Mississippi, exonerated 5 years later.
Ray Krone, Co-Founder (with Sr. Helen Prejean) of Witness to Innocence, Exonerated by DNA after 10 years on Arizona’s death row, honorably discharged Air Force veteran.
Shujaa Graham, Exonerated after 5 years on California’s death row.
Alfred Rivera, Exonerated after 2 years on North Carolina’s death row.
Jennie Sheeks; firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-251-6070
Witness to Innocence is an organization of, by, and for death row exonerees. Its mission is to empower exonerated death row survivors to be the most powerful and effective voice in the fight to end the death penalty in the United States. Through public speaking, testifying in state legislatures, and media interviews, its members expose the reality that innocent people are sentenced to death. WTI also provides an essential network of peer support for the exonerated, most of whom received no compensation or access to reentry services when released from death row.
Catholic Mobilizing Network is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the use of the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices.