Monday, October 13, 2003

Amnesty steps up campaign to abolish death penalty

Amnesty International director Irene Khan

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International is urging people around the world to pressure countries to abolish the death penalty.

Amnesty director Irene Khan has released a statement, which raps governments for carrying out "executions".

"It is outrageous that states still carry out executions," she said.

"Death is not justice. The death penalty violates the very foundation of human value and dignity.

"No research has shown that it deters criminality more effectively than other punishments, instead it fuels a culture of violence, is often applied in a discriminatory manner and has no place in modern society."

Amnesty is calling on people to sign an on-line petition urging governments to cease executions immediately.

"Seventy-six countries have now abolished the death penalty for all crimes, and 16 for all but exceptional crimes. A further 20 countries are abolitionist in practice - they no longer carry out executions," Amnesty said.

The last country to join the list was Armenia, which in September ratified a protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights, an international treaty that abolished the death penalty in peace time.

"Despite the clear trend towards abolition, sadly some countries continue to execute prisoners," the international human rights watchdog said.

"People are still being legally executed by the state, by lethal injection, hanging, firing squad and even by stoning."

According to the organisation, 1,526 people were executed in 31 countries in 2002. China accounts for 1,060 of those executions.

Since the beginning of 2003, 57 prisoners have been executed in the United States, at least 83 in Iran and 40 in Saudi Arabia.

In total, 83 countries still use the death penalty, including China, Iran, Japan, Nigeria and the US.

By Just Us Posted 13 October 03


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