Death penalty out­dated

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

THE ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in Pak­istan sup­port the death penalty, although few ex­pect jus­tice from a col­laps­ing crim­i­nal ju­di­cial sys­tem, where cases can drag on for years, be­com­ing in­ter­gen­er­a­tional dis­putes. Since lift­ing the mora­to­rium on ex­e­cu­tions less than four months ago, 64 of the 8000 death row pris­on­ers have been ex­e­cuted – roughly one ev­ery two days. At one ex­treme, ex­e­cu­tion was pre­scribed for the mur­der of 132 chil­dren at a school in Pe­shawar by the Tal­iban. At the other ex­treme, a 50-year-old Chris­tian woman has been sen­tenced to death for in­sult­ing the prophet Mo­hammed. While many might sup­port the death penalty for the mur­der of the chil­dren, few would sup­port the death penalty for in­sult­ing the prophet. In our so­ci­ety, some would sup­port the death penalty for mur­der – “the un­law­ful pre­med­i­tated killing of one hu­man be­ing by an­other”. But many would not sup­port the death penalty for homi­cide en­gen­dered by self-de­fence, or ac­ci­den­tal man­slaugh­ter, or even as a pre­med­i­tated re­ac­tion to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. Where should the pen­du­lum stop to pin­point at the de­mar­ca­tion be­tween a sen­tence to death or im­pris­on­ment? And more im­por­tantly, who makes that de­ci­sion – par­lia­ment, jury or judge? Then there is the is­sue of de­ter­rence. No one should ever be pun­ished, es­pe­cially ex­e­cuted, to de­ter oth­ers from a sim­i­lar crime. Even if de­ter­rence worked, it is ab­so­lutely immoral. It’s like belt­ing the neigh­bour’s kid to stop yours from climb­ing the same tree. In 18th cen­tury Eng­land, 260 of­fences car­ried the death penalty, yet there were still enough of­fences com­mit­ted to pop­u­late Eng­land’s colonies in Australia. Cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is an out­dated ob­scen­ity with no place in a mod­ern so­ci­ety. Di­eter Moeckel, Won­bah

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