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Published: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 24, 2003 at 11:13 p.m.
The outgoing Illinois governor is receiving international support for his decision to pardon four death row inmates.
Outgoing Illinois Gov. George Ryan's recent decision to pardon four death row inmates and commute the sentences of 167 others didn't win him many points among fellow politicians on the home front. But that act of calculated clemency was an image-booster for America with much of the rest of the world.
Even as Republicans and Democrats alike were panning Ryan, complements and congratulations were pouring in from world leaders in Europe, Mexico, Africa and elsewhere.
Amnesty International hailed Ryan's decision, saying "The USA is on the wrong side of history on this fundamental human rights issue."
Mexican President Vicente Fox, who recently canceled a visit to President Bush's ranch to protest the execution of a Mexican national in Texas, called it an "historic decision."
The Geneva-based Commission for Jurists said Ryan's act was "predicated on an unanswerable consideration - the risk of error," and noted "An error of justice cannot be repaired."
With America's image taking a beating around the world as a result of Bush administration war policies and blunders, Ryan's act of mass mercy was a foreign policy coup.
Those who think otherwise, must be proud that the United States continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of China, Iraq and Iran in its enthusiasm for state-sponsored killing.

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