The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

The death of the death penalty?

There’s some evidence of that:

electric_chair.jpgThere is an increasing move away from the death penalty, according to participants in a recent congress. From Feb. 24-26, campaigners against the death penalty met at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty, in Geneva, Switzerland.

“There is a new trend against the death penalty that is something new for the world,” said Mario Marazziti, spokesman for the Community of Sant’Egidio, told Reuters in a report published on the opening day of the meeting.


According to Reuters Marazziti told a briefing that 56 countries continued to execute people, while 141 countries did not use the death penalty, including 93 that had formally abolished it altogether.

The Community of Sant’Egido has a Web site dedicated to promoting the abolition of the death penalty, and on it they posted some reports by Marazziti about the congress.

On Feb. 25 he posted some details about the congress and the use of the death penalty.

Over 1,000 activists and experts attended the gathering and they heard that, according to Amnesty International 2,390 persons were executed in 2008.

The countries where the most executions took place in 2008 included China (1,718), Iran (346), Saudi Arabia (102), the United States (37), Pakistan (36), Iraq (34), Vietnam (19), Afghanistan (17), and North Korea and Japan (15 each).


That might seem a lot, he noted, but there has been remarkable progress in reducing the number of countries that utilize capital punishment. Back in the 1970s, only 23 countries had abolished the death penalty, either by removing it from the statute books or ceasing to practice it, Marazziti observed.

Whereas now we have around 140 countries without the death penalty, he pointed out. The exact number is a bit uncertain, he admitted, as some groups suspect there have been small numbers of executions carried out in secret in one or two countries.

Among recent triumphs against the death penalty Marazziti highlighted the cases of Cambodia, Rwanda and Burundi, “three countries that have really suffered the last three big genocides in contemporary history, yet feel that only without the death penalty can a reconciliation process be started in their societies. Otherwise revenge, and the thirst for revenge, will never end.”

Visit the ZENIT link for more.

Meantime, for a provocative take on capital punishment, check out this image. 

Comments read comments(5)
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posted March 15, 2010 at 1:47 am

Eliminate the death penalty and more of your daughters will be raped and murdered. If you don’t mind that, go ahead and eliminate punishment of criminals. Best way in the world to encourage murder. I’ll bet that guy who just raped and murdered that girl in San Diego would love the opportunity to do the same to your daughter!

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posted March 15, 2010 at 11:20 am

“Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.”
–Adam Smith
“Those who do not punish evil command it to be done.”
–Leonardo Da Vinci

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posted March 15, 2010 at 11:34 am

To PS, I wonder if the God of Mercy would agree with you?

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posted March 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Ed and PS,
Who is saying anything about not punishing the guilty? There is a huge chasm between opposing capital punishment and opposing all criminal punishment.

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ron chandonia

posted March 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I strongly oppose the continued use of capital punishment in the United States, but I think it is misleading to cite some of the world’s poorest and least developed nations as exemplars in this area. My son lived for several years in one of those countries where the national government had gained international acclaim for abolishing the death penalty. But in his village, people were regularly put to death on the most trivial of grounds. In fact, the only real law-enforcement came from bands of vigilantes who had no other means at their disposal to keep public order. Yet abolitionists were satisfied with the words on paper signed by a “paper government” eager for international attention and rewards.

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