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A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof

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“What are you?” a member of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston asked at the trial of the white man who killed eight of her fellow black parishioners and their pastor. “What kind of subhuman miscreant could commit such evil?... What happened to you, Dylann?”
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah spent months in South Carolina searching for an answer to those questions—speaking with Roof’s mother, father, friends, former teachers, and victims’ family members, all in an effort to unlock what went into creating one of the coldest killers of our time.
Sitting beside the church, drinking from a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, he thought he had to go in and shoot them.
They were a small prayer group—a rising-star preacher, an elderly minister, eight women, one young man, and a little girl. But to him, they were a problem. He believed that, as black Americans, they were raping “our women and are taking over our country.” So he took out his Glock handgun and calmly, while their eyes were closed in prayer, ope…

Turkish military penal code allows capital punishment for putschist soldiers

After the failed coup attempt of July 15 by a faction in the Turkish military orchestrated by the fugitive imam Fethullah Gulen, the discussion about reinstating the death penalty has become a major topic in Turkish politics. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Tuesday that he is ready to reinstate the death penalty if the people demand it and Parliament approves the necessary legislation. "In democracies, decisions are made based on what the people say. I think our government will speak with the opposition and come to a decision," Erdogan said to a large crowd chanting: "We want the death penalty," on Tuesday evening in Istanbul. "We hear your request. In a democracy, whatever the people want, they will get." he said.

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting on Monday in Ankara, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said: "Turkey is a state of law, we engage in politics for our people," but added that it is not wise to rush to a decision on capital punishment while the developments are still recent. "These issues will be extensively discussed, as it requires constitutional reform. We cannot either accept or reject this demand outright," Yildirim said.

The death penalty in Turkey was abolished in 2004, although Turkey had not actually executed any prisoners since October 1984. Speaking to Daily Sabah on Tuesday, the chairman of Parliament's Justice Commission, Ahmet Iyimaya, did not rule out the possibility of reinstating the death penalty. "Turkey is still under an unprecedented threat. Our aim is to avert this crisis and law is an indispensable weapon in this fight," Iyimaya said. "The reforms regarding the current laws should be discussed only after this existing threat is eliminated. Instead of individual opinions, the collective wisdom of the legislative and the executive [branches] is crucial. It is definite that Turkey, with its 2,000 years of experience, will decide for the best." he added.

Cem Duran Uzun, a constitutional lawyer and director of Law and Human Rights at the Political, Economic and Social Research Foundation (SETA) in Ankara, however, stressed the difficulties of reinstating the death penalty. "There are many conventions prohibiting capital punishment, which were signed by Turkey. The re-implementation of capital punishment is also challenging due to international agreements. The Council of Europe, co-founded by Turkey, also prohibits this type of punishment," Duran said. "Moreover, the AK Party [Justice and Development Party] completely removed capital punishment clauses from the Constitution in 2004. As a side note, even though clauses existed in the constitution and certain laws for a long time, since 1984, none of the court decisions for capital punishment were rejected by Parliament."

Constitutional law academic from Yildirim Beyazit University in Ankara Dr. Taylan Barin said that the Constitution should be reformed to re-implement capital punishment. "Probably there will be a referendum regarding this reform. If the political parties and the people continue to support the re-implementation of capital punishment, it might be possible," Barin said.

Regarding retroactive punishment, Barin affirmed that this could be possible if the capital punishment still extent in military law is put into practice. "In the military penal code, with the 20th clause, capital punishment is possible. However, as the Constitution does not have a similar clause, this became obsolete. If there is a new constitutional amendment that approves capital punishment, this clause of the military penal code might be re-introduced," Barin said. Moreover, Barin signified that the re-introduction of capital punishment could have certain repercussions in the international community. "The political administration will try to achieve a balance between the people and the international community. If they chance the repercussions, they might re-introduce capital punishment."

Meanwhile, a number of EU officials have voiced concerns over the discussion. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that re-instating the death penalty in Turkey would end EU accession talks. "Turkey is an important part of the Council of Europe and is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights, which is very clear on the death penalty," she said. "The introduction of the death penalty would mean the immediate suspension of accession talks," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz shared the same sentiment. "The introduction of the death penalty would of course be absolutely unacceptable," Kurz said in an interview with the Austrian Kurier newspaper on Monday.

Source: Daily Sabah, July 20, 2016


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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