Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. Although 2013 saw more executions than in previous years and several countries resuming executions, there was also progress towards abolition in all regions of the world. Below, see the top 10 things you need to know from our newest report:
In advance of the release of our 2014 Global Death Penalty Report tomorrow, here are 5 of the most common misconceptions about the death penalty.
The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safer.
There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.
More than three decades after abolishing the death penalty, Canada’s murder rate remains over one third lower than it was in 1976.
EDITOR’S NOTE: On Wednesday, Amnesty International will release its 2014 global Death Penalty report. Some believe that using the death penalty is fine as long as the public supports it. But history is littered with human rights violations that were supported by the majority, but were subsequently looked upon with horror, such as slavery, racial segregation and lynching. Here, independent filmmaker and Amnesty India Campaigner Kadambari Gladding, discusses turning the tide of public option in India, where public option increasingly favors the death penalty.
“A murder for murder cannot be justice,” Mani told me as we walked down the corridor of the school he went to with his friend Simon some four decades ago. Mani still lives in the same village, while Simon has been on death row for nearly 10 years. Mani is a quiet person, but some things – like the death penalty – move him to rare, long conversations.
Back when I served as a death row attorney, I experienced first hand that the death penalty is anything but just. I was there at the trial of Bill Andrews when a note reading ‘Hang the N*****’ was found in the jury’s lunchroom. I saw people die by lethal injection and the electric chair who I believed were innocent.
But victories like today’s remind me that the tide is turning for the death penalty in America.
Today, we came one step closer to a significant victory when the New Hampshire House voted to repeal capital punishment in the state.
By Tessa Murphy, USA Campaigner at Amnesty International
There are two lessons the U.S. should learn from the release of Glenn Ford, a 64-year-old man who spent 28 years on death row in Louisiana for a crime he didn’t commit.
The first lesson is that the death penalty is never the answer, including because it carries the inescapable risk of executing innocent people. The second is that there are some serious problems with Louisiana’s justice system.
Glenn Ford walked out of the southern state’s infamous Angola prison late yesterday, after spending nearly three decades behind bars for a crime he’s always claimed he never committed.
This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post under the title, “The Death Penalty Is The Tip of an Iceberg of Injustice.”
For much of my working, adult life, I have been witness to the consequences of our country’s addiction to the death penalty, and to the damage it does even as we loosen its grip.
This week, we at Amnesty International USA and anti-death penalty activists around the country hope to witness a moment we will one day say was another important step towards our collective recovery.
Wednesday, March 12, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on a bill that, when signed into law, would end the death penalty in the state. Thirty-two states throughout this country have yet to rid themselves of a punishment that is not just cruel, unfair and expensive, but is tainted with human error.
On March 19th, 2014, Ray Jasper is scheduled to be executed in Texas. Amnesty International USA is sharing his words below from a letter posted on Gawker where Ray Jasper acknowledges that this letter “could be my final statement on earth.”
Amnesty International USA has issued an urgent action calling on Texas to not execute Ray Jasper on March 19th.
When I first responded to you, I didn’t think that it would cause people to reach out to me and voice their opinions. I’ve never been on the internet in my life and I’m not fully aware of the social circles on the internet, so it was a surprise to receive reactions so quickly.
By Donna Schneweis, Amnesty USA’s Kansas State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
On Feb. 13th, 2014, the Kansas Senate passed a bill that would speed up the appeals process for people sentenced to death. If this becomes law, it would increase the possibility of Kansas executing someone who was wrongfully convicted of capital murder.
Nationally, since the death penalty was reinstated, 143 people who faced the death penalty have been released due to wrongful conviction. The most recent exoneree, Reginald Griffin, was sentenced to death in 1983 and spent 30 years on death row in Missouri. If this bill passes the Kansas House and is signed into law, the resulting changes would enhance the risk to the innocent in Kansas. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Meredith Reese, Amnesty International USA’s Missouri State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
In the early morning hours of February 4th, Reggie Clemons’ parents found themselves once again preparing for a long ride across the state of Missouri to yet another court hearing. This one was to be held in Jefferson City in front of the Missouri State Supreme Court and has been a long time coming.
Reggie’s parents were joined by a large enthusiastic group of supporters who gathered 130 miles away in Saint Louis, in the gray, pre-dawn light to board a bus for the long ride to Jefferson City. Many of them taking off work, skipping school and losing countless hours of precious sleep between them, just to be there for this crucial moment.
There has been a horrendous, sudden spike in executions in Iraq.
Sources indicate that Abdullah al-Qahtani is once again under imminent threat of execution.
Abdullah is one of six men who were reportedly tortured into confessing to murder and terrorism.
He was initially detained for immigration violations. Abdullah’s attorneys say they have compelling evidence of his innocence. He deserves to have his evidence heard by a court in a fair trial.
Last year, after four of his co-defendants were executed, Abdullah could have been executed at any time – but his life was spared.