CSF: Review Death Penalty: Kasab hanging & India at the UN…

November 22, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

A growing list of countries has abolished the death penalty in either law or practice - Amnesty International

A growing list of countries has abolished the death penalty in either law or practice - Amnesty International

Mumbai, November 22, 2012: The CSF places on record its sympathies and prayers for the victims of the 26 / 11 attack and their families, urging that the Indian government needs to do more to get the handlers and the real culprits behind the attack. While it welcomes the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, CSF general secretary, calls for ” re-visiting death penalty in the country as a punishment. It is merely a coincidence that a day before Ajmal Kasab was hanged, India was among the 39 countries to vote for death penalty at the UN General Assembly calling for its abolition. It was heartening though that a record number of 110 countries voted against capital punishment, while 36 countries abstained from the vote, which is what India should have done “. He pointed out that Amnesty International says China executed “thousands” of prisoners in 2011 though exact figures are hard to determine and other countries put to death at least 680 people with Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia being major users of capital punishment. According to the United Nations, about 150 countries have either abolished capital punishment or have instituted a moratorium. “India should also consider a moratorium against all death penalties pending a studied re-look at capital punishment, given the world’s experience in its efficacy and other methods being available to achieve similar ends. It may be a possibility only in the rarest of rare cases”, he concluded.

Christianity is not in favour of the death penalty for well-known religious reasons, but The CSF opposes capital punishment because the following secular ones:

1. The right to life is the most basic inalienable human right and hence it is morally, ethically and constitutionally wrong to deliberately take life away. Rigorous life imprisonment is an alternative.

2. The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. And such could well be the case. It also does not allow the person to repent, change and make amends.

3. Almost all religious groups would disfavour death penalty, especially since most believers hold that God gives life and it is not for us to take it away. Most would believe in forgiveness.

4. Death penalty may not necessarily heal the wounds of the victims or their families, rather it may hurt them more depending on their view of life and the delayed justice delivery system.

5. The vast majority of countries in Western Europe, North America and South America – more than 139 nations worldwide – have abandoned capital punishment in law or in practice.

6. The inadequate quality legal representation and extraneous circumstances like distinctions, mass pressure, politics, biases, etc. may often result in a wrongful conviction.

7. It harks back to medieval inhuman times, making society less civilized and cruel; victims may not want a wrong to be avenged with death, rather life imprisonment.

8. Scientific studies have consistently failed to demonstrate that executions deter people from committing crime anymore than life prison sentences.

*America’s Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says that The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on how much money they have, the skill of their attorneys, race of the victim and where the crime took place. The death penalty is a waste of taxpayers money and has no public safety benefit. The vast majority of law enforcement professionals surveyed agree that capital punishment does not deter violent crime. Since 1973, over 138 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed. It  forever deprives an individual of the opportunity to benefit from new evidence or new laws that might warrant the reversal of a conviction, or the setting aside of a death sentence.

According to the ACLU, capital punishment wastes limited resources. It squanders the time and energy of courts, prosecuting attorneys, defense counsel, juries, and courtroom and law enforcement personnel. It unduly burdens the criminal justice system, and it is thus counterproductive as an instrument for society’s control of violent crime. Limited funds that could be used to prevent and solve crime (and provide education and jobs) are spent on capital punishment cases. Opposing the death penalty does not indicate a lack of sympathy for murder victims. On the contrary, murder demonstrates a lack of respect for human life. Because life is precious and death irrevocable, murder is abhorrent, and a policy of state-authorized killings is immoral. It epitomizes the tragic inefficacy and brutality of violence, rather than reason, as the solution to difficult social problems.

A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings. An execution is a violent public spectacle of official homicide, and one that endorses killing to solve social problems – the worst possible example to set for the citizenry, and especially children. The benefits of capital punishment are illusory, but the bloodshed and the resulting destruction of community decency are real.

* Internet inputs

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