PRINCETON -- Movie star Danny Glover, known for his brutal gunplay in the Lethal Weapon movie series, last night called on the U.S. to spare the life of Osama bin Laden.
As guest speaker at an anti-death penalty forum at Princeton University, Glover said America was the one to blame for bombing and terror around the world.
"Yes -- Yes!" Glover said when asked if American forces should spare the Saudi terrorist's life.
"When I say the death penalty is inhumane. I mean [it's inhumane] whether that person is in a bird cage [jail] or it's bin Laden."
Glover spent the first 30 minutes of his presentation at McCosh 50 auditorium deriding the death penalty, which he called "homicide as the official tool of the state."
He went on to chide the U.S. government for incarceration of nearly 1,000 illegal immigrants in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, and derided John Ashcroft for asking permission to listen to conversations between terrorist suspects and their lawyers.
"It gets even worse," he added. "This week President Bush implemented a military tribunal ... which will make it easier for us to execute (people)."
"This clearly is a slippery slope. We must stand vigilant against Bush in these times and work with the abolitionists.
"One of the main purveyors of violence in this world has been this country, whether it's been against Nicaragua, Vietnam or wherever," Glover added.
The event was sponsored by the Mercer County Chapter of Amnesty International, a group with 1,000 members which opposes the death penalty and advocates human rights.
Glover has received wide recognition for his roles in more than 50 films, including his role as a gun-toting police officer in the Lethal Weapon movies.
When asked how he could justify playing a Los Angeles cop who guns down villains in the movies, Glover said he compromised with Warner Brothers and Sony, the movie financiers.
For example, Glover said Warner Brothers agreed to finance half the cost of movies with pacifist themes, such as Beloved and Buffalo Soldiers, in exchange for him agreeing to perform in films where he often ignores the rights of criminal characters.
Glover said 741 people have been executed in the U.S. since the U.S. Supreme Court made it legal again in 1976.
Currently 13 states allow executions, and two allow juveniles to be put to death, he said.
Of the thousands currently on death row, 98 were freed recently after new evidence proved them to be "absolutely innocent" and not on some technicality, he claimed.
"I've been an advocate for peace my whole life. But one of the main purveyors of violence in this world is this country," he said.
Glover, who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, also starred in the screen adaptations of Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Toni Morrison's Beloved.
He received a Cable ACE Aware after starring in HBO's production of Mandela and has been the recipient of an NAACP Image Award.
A tireless human rights crusader, Glover is a recipient of the Amnesty International USA Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in the civil rights movement in Namibia, his work as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program and his commitment to abolition of the death penalty.