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"And you're told it's time to die": A Personal Contribution to the 2021 World Day Against the Death Penalty

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The following text is excerpted from  Death Row Diary , by William Van Poyck. William Van Poyck -- who maintained his innocence -- was executed by the state of Florida on June 12, 2013.  The 58-year-old, convicted of the 1987 murder of Glades Correctional Institution guard Fred Griffis outside a West Palm Beach doctor’s office, offered his views on everything from prison food to movies to the blood lust of politicians who support the death penalty via letters he posted online with the help of his sister.  After his conviction, Van Poyck, with a reform school education, authored three books, one of which won first-place honors in the memoir category in Writer’s Digest 2004 Self-Published Book Awards.  Locked up with what the courts have deemed the worst of the worst, Van Poyck opened the doors to a secret world few can imagine... The following piece is excerpted from William Van Poyck’s dispatches written during the last two years prior to his own execution. "Robert Waterhouse was

As France Prepares to Assume Presidency of European Union, Emmanuel Macron Announces Initiative for Worldwide Abolition of Death Penalty

At a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of France’s abolition of the death penalty, French President Emmanuel Macron announced an initiative to advance worldwide abolition of capital punishment. The announcement also coincided with World Day Against the Death Penalty, which is observed annually on October 10.

In January 2022, France will assume the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Macron said, “As part of the French presidency of the European Union, we will organize … a meeting in Paris at the highest level, bringing together civil societies from countries that still apply the death penalty … in order to convince their leaders of the importance and urgency of abolishing it.” Macron spoke of France’s role as a leader in ending the death penalty, saying that, in 1981, it became the 35th nation to abolish capital punishment. Today, he said, “106 states have so far taken this path, while 50 others have a de jure or de facto moratorium on executions.”

Macron lamented that at least 483 executions were carried out worldwide in 2020, describing them as, “483 state killings carried out by 33 regimes that mostly share a taste for despotism, a rejection of the universality of human rights.” Noting that the 483 executions were “almost certainly an underestimate,” he also announced efforts to pass a United Nations resolution requiring countries to report the number of death sentences and executions. Amnesty International reports on death sentences and executions each year, but notes that China, North Korea, and Vietnam consider executions and death sentences to be state secrets and do not release information on their use of the death penalty. China alone is estimated to execute over 1,000 people per year.

Macron spoke alongside Robert Badinter, who served as justice minister in the administration of President François Mitterrand and led the successful effort to end capital punishment in France. Badinter said, “I want to share with you my absolute conviction that the death penalty must disappear from the entire world as it is a shame for humanity. The death penalty does not protect society, it dishonours it.”

Source: Death Penalty Information Center, Staff, October 12, 2021

European Union presses for worldwide suppression of the death penalty


The European Union (EU) has insisted governments should move forward with abolishing the death penalty worldwide.

“The EU will continue using all its available tools of diplomacy and cooperation assistance to work towards the abolition of the death penalty in countries where it still applies. The EU is a leading institutional actor and the lead donor to the efforts by civil society organizations around the world in the abolition of the death penalty”, the EU said in a statement over the weekend marking the World/European Day Against The Death Penalty.

In South America, Guyanan judges continue to hand down death sentences which are not carried out. The European authorities would like that country to turn its de facto moratorium into a de jure moratorium as a step prior to the full abolition of the death penalty. In December, 2018, for the first time, Guyana shifted its stance from opposing a moratorium on the death penalty, and instead, abstained from the vote at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The EU asserted that the imposition of the death penalty contravenes the right to life. It also argued that the death penalty does not deter crime more effectively that other punishments.

Though death sentences continue to be handed down by the courts here, the penalty has not been enforced here since August of 1997.

French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday announced his country had launched a campaign for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty, which he described as an “abomination,” as part of France's upcoming presidency of the European Union.

During a speech marking the 40th anniversary of France’s abolition of capital punishment, Macron said a conference would be held in Paris shortly while France holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council in the 1st half of 2022.

The French head of state also vowed to work with other member states towards a United Nations resolution requiring countries to report each year the number of death penalty sentences handed down and executions carried out.

Macron recalled that, in 1981, France had been “the 35th state to abolish the death penalty”. He added that “106 states have so far taken this path, while 50 others have a de jure or de facto moratorium on executions.” But he noted with regret that “483 executions” were carried out worldwide in 2020 “by 33 regimes that mostly share a taste for despotism, a rejection of the universality of human rights,“ which included the United States and Japan.

"The death penalty does not protect society, it dishonours it,” Macron said.

Source: mercopress.com, Staff, October 12, 2021


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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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"And you're told it's time to die": A Personal Contribution to the 2021 World Day Against the Death Penalty