2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from the previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the t…

New Hampshire: Death penalty arguments used by Sununu in veto don't hold up

Gov. Chris Sununu
In his statement vetoing SB 593 to repeal the death penalty, Gov. Chris Sununu argued that the death penalty delivers justice for crime victims, protects the law enforcement community and is needed to send a message to those who commit "the most heinous offenses" within our borders.

I would like to examine each of these reasons.

First, does the death penalty deliver justice for crime victims?

New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1939. That is almost 80 years ago. New Hampshire has consistently been among the states with the lowest homicide rates. Even so, we average about 20 homicides a year. That means that approximately 1,600 individuals have been murdered since our last execution. There is only 1 person on death row. Does the governor really mean to imply that the State of New Hampshire has "delivered justice" to only 1 of 1,600 murder victim families?

There are ways to deliver real and lasting justice to crime victims and the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has been advocating for them for years. New Hampshire's Victim Compensation Law is among the stingiest in the country. We could provide significant assistance to crime victims and their family members by increasing the amount of compensation they receive, by providing funds for the long-term treatment of their emotional trauma, and by providing a college education at a state school for any child of a murder victim who meets the necessary educational requirements.

Does the death penalty protect the law enforcement community?

In 2009, the Death Penalty Information Center conducted a nationwide poll of police chiefs to determine what the chiefs themselves believed would be the most effective way to keep front-line officers safe. The report concluded, "The nation's police chiefs rank the death penalty last in their priorities for effective crime reduction. The officers do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder, and they rate it as one of most inefficient uses of taxpayer dollars in fighting crime."

What is effective?

According to the chiefs the answer includes more resources for police departments to provide training and backup, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, and an end to court backups.

Finally, the governor stated that we need the death penalty for "the most heinous crimes."

As a homicide prosecutor, a public defender, and a member of the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, I have had heartbreaking and intimate conversations with hundreds of murder victim family members. Many of those family members and loved ones have told me that this language is particularly painful for them. For anyone who has lost a loved one to murder, that loss is "the most heinous." And, as many family members have stated, the death penalty doesn't bring a loved one back ... it only creates another grieving family.

Gov. Sununu said that abolishing the death penalty would send the wrong message, but the Coalition argues that abolishing the death penalty would send the opposite message - that New Hampshire cares about the real needs of victims and takes its responsibility to protect law enforcement seriously.

By diverting taxpayer dollars from the bloated death penalty system (more than $5.5 million spent so far on a single death penalty case), we could provide real and lasting compensation to murder victim family members and invest in the positive societal changes that truly would serve to keep our police safe.

The death penalty is a false and empty promise. Let's put our money where our mouth is and make a tangible commitment to crime victims and our law enforcement community.

Source: Concord Monitor,  Opinion, Barbara Keshen, July, 2018. Barbara Keshen is the Chair of the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.

Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

New Hampshire again considers death penalty repeal

Executed for being gay: 13 nations threaten it, 4 do it.

Nevada lawmakers propose ending death penalty, citing costs

Gay teen fighting for asylum in Sweden as he could be executed in Iran

Three Bishops Stand Against an Execution in Georgia

Texas: Man convicted of killing 3 scheduled to die Feb. 28

Malawi: ‘The hangman was too tired to hang me – three times’

Former Alcatraz inmate claims notorious missing fugitives ‘beat this place’

Sri Lanka: 200 kilo stone to test new hangman’s noose

Sri Lanka: Thirteen inmates definitely in line for the death penalty