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Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

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"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

Israel: Kill the Death Penalty Bill

The Knesset
By a bare majority, the Knesset has given preliminary approval to a bill sanctioning the death penalty for terrorists. This bill should be pulled and further legislative stages waived, seeing as how it has now fulfilled its political mission and done its duty by those chanting “death to terrorists,” by the politicians competing with one another over fascist legislation, by those on the “extreme” and “moderate” right, and by anyone whose hand didn’t tremble when he raised it to support this bill. The death penalty is nothing but cold-blooded murder carried out by civilian society, and is therefore morally invalid.

In addition, such a law is superfluous and dangerous. The Shin Bet security service’s objection to it rests on the fear that it would lead to kidnappings of Jews abroad to use them in hostage negotiations, or even to murder them to deter implementation of the law. Even Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who sponsored the bill, once opposed it on the argument that revenge is neither a policy nor morally justified. Thus, he in his own words confirmed the suspicion that the bill is really about revenge and not deterrence. He has since changed his tune, once he concluded the bill would provide him with political capital.

But it’s not only the bill’s effect on security that should halt its legislative path. Israel has a wealth of means to deter, punish and even take revenge against terrorists who carry out their murderous deeds in the name of national or religious ideology. Executing them would only elevate their status and turn them into martyrs and role models.

To buttress these points, there is also the dubious legal argument that Israeli law already permits the death penalty when the judges rule unanimously in its favor. However, anyone who takes this tack is still condoning the death penalty in principle, which is a slippery slope toward legislation easing the way to this punishment, which is the goal of the bill’s sponsors.

The gallows will not win the war on terror, but only increase the damage to Israel’s moral strength. The biggest threat to terror is a diplomatic alternative, which is seen by Israel’s government as a greater threat than terror itself.

The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

Source: Haaretz, Editorial Board, January 5, 2018


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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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