TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Bob Martinez has rejected a plea by Soviet dissident Andrei D. Sakharov to stop the scheduled execution next month of a convicted killer who human rights activists say may be innocent.
Sakharov, winner of the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize for his defense of human rights in the Soviet Union, called Western reporters in Moscow on Wednesday to read them a letter to Martinez regarding convicted murderer Willie Jasper Darden. He made the appeal at the request of Amnesty International.
The 66-year-old physicist said he has made just one such previous appeal on behalf of an American prisoner, about 10 years ago and also at the request of London-based Amnesty International.
Martinez's office repeated statements made earlier in the week after an Amnesty International news conference seeking clemency for Darden.
"The governor is not going to base his actions in this matter on press conferences, celebrities or others," press secretary Jon Peck said Wednesday. "We respect their concerns, but their concerns are not the basis on which the governor makes his decisions."