Thursday, April 10, 2014

U.S. Among Minority Of Countries To Apply Death Penalty

According to Amnesty International's report, "Death Sentences and Executions 2013," the U.S. stands among the nine countries, including some of the world's worst human rights offenders, that continually use the death penalty. Capital punishment is carried out in a minority of countries and continues to decline. In the U.S., Texas accounted for 41 percent of executions; on the other hand, the application of death penalty overall is also declining in the U.S.:

Developments in the worldwide use of the death penalty in 2013 confirmed that its application is confined to a small minority of countries. Although only nine countries have continuously executed in each of the past five years – Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, USA and Yemen – and there has been a consistent trend away from the death penalty, some severe setbacks have to be acknowledged. The resumption of executions in Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Viet Nam, as well as a marked increase in reported executions in Iran and Iraq, were recorded during the year.

Amnesty International recorded executions in 22 countries. The number of confirmed executions was 778, an increase of 14% over the 2012 figure of 682 in 21 countries. The figure of 778 excludes the thousands of executions carried out in China, which accounts for more executions than the rest of the world combined. Apart from China, almost 80% of all known executions were recorded in only three countries: Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Despite the setbacks, progress towards abolition was recorded in all regions of the world. Although the USA remained the only country in the Americas to carry out executions in 2013, with the state of Texas alone accounting for 41% of all executions in the region, the number of executions carried out in the US continued to decrease. Maryland became the 18th abolitionist US state in May. For the first time since Amnesty International began keeping records there were no prisoners on death row in Grenada, Guatemala and Saint Lucia after all remaining prisoners had their death sentences commuted.

Image: Amnesty International


Michael J. Mand said...

Please don't get me started on this again. I have been opposed to the death penalty since the moment I could think for myself. The reasons against it are numerous.

1. It has never been proven to be a universal deterrent.
2. It is costly.
3. It has never been applied fairly. Money will always get you off.
4. You can't correct a mistake. And there have been numerous proven errors.
5. It is immoral. (I guess this reason is arguable.)
6. It could be counter-productive. Other countries that have no capital punishment might be reluctant to extradite suspects if they thought the suspect might be put to death if convicted.
7. On a practical note, the person executed might have been able to supply valuable information about other suspects. (Timothy McVeigh comes to mind.)

The only reason in support of capital punishment is to administer a small dose of revenge. And, from what I understand, those immediately affected by the "capital" crime, get only momentary satisfaction from the execution. Their pain goes on.

Jeff Tone said...

Number four is the ultimate reason: the inevitability that a mistake will be made and someone will lose his or her life for the crime of another. There indeed have been enough people exonerated to prove this. That's what the Innocence Project is all about.