How Death Penalty Is Used in Flawed Anti-Terror Drives

Death Penalty
Death Penalty

Leading human rights organization Amnesty International reports that countries are increasingly resorting to death penalty in a flawed attempt to combat terrorism-related crimes.

According to Amnesty, at least 20 countries sentenced people to death or carried out executions for terrorism-related crimes last year.

They include Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and the USA).

Although the use of death penalty for such offences is often shrouded in secrecy, in recent years Amnesty says it has documented a notable rise in its use.

[ Also Read: Saudi Arabia Put 157 People to Death in 2015 ]

“The increase we are seeing in the use of the death penalty as a flawed response to terrorism-related crimes betrays a fundamental mistake on the part of authorities – there is no evidence that the death penalty deters violent crime more effectively than other punishments. It is borne out of weakness and expediency rather than strength,” said James Lynch, deputy director of the Global Issues Programme at Amnesty International.

“The death penalty is always a violation of human rights. More than two thirds of the world’s states have chosen to abolish it in law or practice. All governments should follow suit.”

[ New Report Reveals Human Rights Violations in Pakistan ]

Amnesty International says it opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, regardless of the crime, the characteristic of the individual or the method of execution. It is the ultimate, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, Amnesty suggests.

Today, 10th October, Amnesty joins the global abolitionist movement in marking the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty.

While armed and other violent attacks are not a new phenomenon, Amnesty observes that recent years have seen repeated high-profile violent attacks – in many cases against a backdrop of political instability and conflict – that have sent shockwaves throughout the world.

Meanwhile, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty – an alliance of over 150 NGOs, bar associations, local authorities and unions – reveals that running against the abolitionist worldwide movement, some governments have in recent years resorted to use of the death penalty following terrorist attacks on their countries, in the name of protecting their countries and peoples.

In the last ten years, according to the Coalition, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Tunisia and others have adopted laws that expanded the scope of the death penalty, adding certain terrorist acts to the list of crimes punishable by death.

Photo courtesy: Amnesty International

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Rakesh Raman