Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

Death penalty: remedy or hypocrisy?

As wrote Luis Javier González the 15th of May of 2014 in the newspaper “El País”, a pregnant woman who had a one year old child was punished with death in Sudan for converting to Christianity.

The issue of death penalty is very controversial. Those who support it state that its realization reduces crime, prevents its repetition and that it is a way of punishing the murderer. The ones who are against it, however, argue that it does not reduce crime more than imprisonment; that it is worse than crime and that it is a discrimination against minorities and the poor who may not have resources in the legal system. I personally agree with the previous statement up to a point. From my point of view, death penalty is a very hypocritical solution, since we would be committing the same crime we are punishing that person for.  On the other hand, I understand those willing to make it legal when it comes to the murder of someone who was very close to them, I would probably want the same destiny for the murderer in that case.

The main reasons for using this technique (in those countries where it is legal) are crimes of murder, espionage, treason or as a part of the military law. But there are some places like the one I mentioned before, where people are punished even for their religion, which I find extreme, since everybody should have religious freedom regardless of the place they were born. This was the case of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27 year-old Christian woman who was sentenced by a Sudanese court for giving up the Muslim faith she was obliged to embrace since she was born, to join the Christian one.

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“You have been given three days to change your mind, but as you insist on not returning to the Islam, I condemn you to die on the gallows” concluded the judge Al-Khalifa under the impassive gaze of the accused at a court in Khartoum. This woman was executed because a relative accused her of marrying a Christian man (Sudan considers it as adultery if a Muslim marries a person of another religion), which happens in every Islamic country. This woman was killed because her beliefs were different from those of the people around her, and if that wasn´t enough, she was also punished with 100 lashes before dying, and, she is not the first nor the last, by the way.  So this is something that people should think carefully about, it shouldn´t be legal to finish with someone´s life for any reason, regardless what he or she has done, especially if it is for this kind of issues. Everyone should have the right to choose what to believe in.

To conclude with this bit I would like to give some concrete data about people dying in that way in the latest years. According to the annual report of judicial executions from International Amnesty, at least 1146 people were executed in 28 countries in 2003. The 84% of the documented deaths happened in 4 countries: the popular republic of China held 726 executions; Iran killed 108 people; 65 Vietnam and 64 the United States. However, the number of judicial executions in 2011 is unknown, since although the figure fell to 680 in only 20 countries, this figure does not include executions in China, which International Amnesty believes they were thousands, but there are not official figures available.

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References:

-D.Goldstein (6 January, 2014). Neuroscience Research Indicates Susceptibility to Influence in Younger Defendants. Retrieved the 7 January from: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/node/6004

-Bruce Fein (17 June, 2008) Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed? Retrieved the 7 January from: http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001324

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