On 22 February, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has once again asked for a universal abolition of death penalty.
Ashton comments come a day after the execution of 3 Japanese prisoners, accused for extremely violent crimes. Sadakazu Tanigaki, the Japanese justice minister who ordered the executions told reporters, "these were extremely cruel cases in which the victims had their precious lives taken away for very selfish reasons."
However Ashton commented today, "I deplore that 3 prisoners, Masahiro Kanagawa, Keiki Kano and Kaoru Kobayashi, were executed on 21 February in Japan. While recognising the serious nature of the crimes involved and expressing sincere sympathy to the bereaved family and friends of the victims, the European Union does not believe that their loss will be mitigated by these executions."
Kanagawa, 29, was executed in Tokyo for murdering 2 people and wounding several others in March 2008. Kobayashi, 44, was hanged in the western city of Osaka for the kidnapping and murder of a 7-year-old girl in November 2004. Last, Kato, 62, was executed in the central city of Nagoya for the murder of a bar owner who tried to prevent him from leaving her establishment without paying.
According to Amnesty International, over 2/3 of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty (data updated in May 2012). In 2010, the overwhelming majority of all known executions took place in 5 countries: China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the United States.
EU being in line with Amnesty International is opposed to the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances and has consistently called for its universal abolition.
Ashton stressed that the Union, "believes that the death penalty is cruel and inhumane and that its abolition is essential to protect human dignity."
Source: New Europe, February 23, 2013