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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Remembering Martina

Marlene Martin of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty honors a determined fighter--for her brother Troy and for all the victims of America's death machine. "Martina Correia speaking out for her brother Troy and against the death penalty" "Martina Correia speaking out for her brother Troy and against the death penalty" Martina Correia speaking out for her brother Troy and against the death penalty ON DECEMBER 1, we lost a true and courageous warrior in the fight against the death penalty and the criminal injustice system: Martina Correia. She died after a decade-long battle with breast cancer. She was 44.Martina often joked that she had become known around the country and the world as "The Sister"--that is, the sister of Troy Davis, the Georgia death row prisoner who fought against his wrongful conviction and death sentence for more than 20 years.Martina was Troy's staunchest advocate, and she worked tirelessly to bring attention to her brother's case. Her efforts to save her brother made Troy Davis a household name--not a small feat given the fact that the media was never allowed access to film or interview Troy in prison.Over the years, she spoke to audiences large and small. She said she figured people might think, "Oh, well, that's his sister, of course she defends him." So she set out to make sure everyone saw the same things she did: that Troy was an African American man accused of shooting a white police officer; that police and prosecutors would do anything to get a suspect behind bars and then sent to death row; that the supposed "eyewitness" testimony against Troy was coerced, as seven of the nine original witnesses admitted; that the court system was committing a horrifying injustice by refusing to hear evidence of Troy's innocence because of restrictions on post-conviction appeals.And through it all, Martina, like Troy, recognized that the struggle was bigger than his case alone. She understood that the death penalty was a failure on every level and needed to be abolished.Martina fought her illness all the while she was fighting for Troy. She surprised doctors, who, when she was diagnosed with cancer at age 31, had given her only six months to live. On the night that Troy was executed, Martina was so weak that she needed a wheelchair. But she spoke out anyway, and even stood up to declare that Troy's death would not be in vain.Martina gave everyone she came in contact with the resolve to keep fighting. She worked with many different organizations: Amnesty International, the NAACP, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and many others. She helped bring all these forces together to get behind her brother and to use his situation to shed light on the injustices of the death penalty.And shed light it did. While the movement was not able to stop Troy's execution, millions of people around the world came to believe in his innocence. Millions of people came to see how callously the death machine works. Millions of people were revolted to see Troy put to death.

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