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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Stand Up Against The Death Penalty

October 10th is a day to take a stand Against the Death Penalty around the world. The day was first celebrated in 2003 after being launched by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. The International Amnesty estimates that 15,000 people are now on death row. The middle East seems to justify executions in the area thus their number is not included.

Many believe capital punishment is accepted for crimes such as child abuse and murder. But what happens if the state or government takes the life of an individual that is later found innocent?? An individual can not be brought back from the dead.

Executions in the United States were once days that were filled with spectators and picnics. I am not sure what they were celebrating but it was a day that it seemed noone wanted to miss. Today, is no different in more than 45 countries where organized exhibitions, debates and other activities still take place.

The movement to end the death penalty was started in the Americas. Venzuela was the first country to terminate capital punishment in 1863. The United States remains the only country in the Americas to continue executions.

Popular execution methods include beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and firing squad. Many of these are horrendous forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading torture methods.

World Day Against the Death Penalty observed on October 10th strives to raise awareness concerning facts of the death penalty. Many will argue that the poor, color, ethnic origin, sex, language, religion, political and other differences increases the chance of the death penalty punishment.

Awareness has helped to bring some changes to help safeguard rights of those facing the death penalty. In 1984 some rules were changed to only allow executions that:

  • were for "most serious crimes"
  • individual must be over the age of 18, not pregnant or new mothers or mentally ill
  • the guilt must be based upon clear and convincing evidence
  • must only occur after judge decrees following legal process court procedure and fair trial. 

The United Nations General Assembly determined in 1989 that the death penalty should be phased out eventually. The use of the death penalty has been found to be torture, inhuman, and degrading. Executions under age of 18 are prohibited, however, sadly countries like Iran continue to execute juveniles.

Reasons that the Death Penalty is Seen in bad light and should be eliminated include:

  • executions are irrevocable. In the US 150 people on death row have later been exonerated since 1973. Many have been executed even though doubt still existed
  • The death penalty is not a deterrent against crime. There is no evidence to support those that think it reduces crime and imprisonment. 
  • The legal system may be flawed. Even in unfair trials death sentences have been given and carried out. 
  • Some countries imprison political opponents under accusations of "terrorism" or "security" risk and are executed Along these same lines some minorities are more affected due to discriminatory justice system. 

These are opinions held by many Disagreements and debates are filled with this theme. Even in my own home there is some that are pro and some that are no on the death penalty. 

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