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What are executions and why are they a problem?


     Execution is the act of carrying out a sentence of death. The death penalty is an execution that is carried out with no punishment to the executor. There are also executions by terrorist groups of their prisoners and executions following unfair trials. In some areas there are even child executions. Also, some countries that practice the death penalty carry it out in harsh ways. The United States now uses lethal injection, but some other countries use crude methods such as hanging which cause unnecessary pain and discomfort. Some feel that the death penalty violates the "cruel and unusual punishment" part of the Bill of Rights (Messerli, J). Article 3 of the Declaration of Human rights states that everyone has the right to life. Some consider execution as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. A lot of religions and religious groups are also opposed to the death penalty. Some say that God is the only one who can condemn a living person. Also, the process of having a relative or friend on death's row can be emotionally troubling. It can cause unnecessary  mental trauma to the prisoner and to the families as well. It causes worry and inaction as well, because some countries will execute those who speak out against them. 



Why do people believe in executions?


     Many countries carry out the death penalty, because they believe it deters violence and murder (Messerli, J). They believe that people will stop committing terrible crimes because of the death penalty. They also believe that it is better than caring and wasting money on housing the criminals for the rest of their lives. Some terrorist groups execute prisoners to make a statement or to deter other acts against them. Others simply execute those who oppose them because they have no care for human rights. Some countires will torture suspected terrorists into confessing and then execute them after unfair trials. They might do this to try and protect themselves from other terrorist attacks, and because they do not worry about human rights.  





1. One example of execution was in Sudan in April of 2009. Sudan sentenced nine men to death following torture and a seemingly unfair trial. They were accused of killing a man, and they confessed at first. They took back their statements, saying they had been forced to confess. Medical examinations were denied and they were hung. The UN condemned this action. This denies the peoples' rights to a fair trial, and when the consequence is as drastic as execution than the people deserve a proper trial. ("Sudan: UN experts...")



(Taken from http://dissidentvoice.org/Aug05/Iran-Hanging.jpg 



2.  Another example is the hanging of 29 men and two juvenile offenders in Iran. They were accused of drug smuggling and murder. Even though only ten names were able to be released to the public and there was no evidence against them or details on the trial released.  Iran executes several children a year, and Iran's actions are being condemned by many human rights organizations. They continue to execute children even though it is banned by international law. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Campaign for Human Rights, and 6 other human rights groups all opposed Iran's decision to continue the executions of juveniles. ("Iran: End Executions... ")






 (Taken from http://irantoday.co.kr/photo/2007/09/23/iran_execution-thumb-510x446.jpg)


 3. 28 people were executed in one week in Irag following unfair and hasty trials. They were arrested in groups about clashes that occurred in the past three weeks.Amnesty International has raised awareness of this quickness, saying that something had to be wrong. When a country hastily executes people of that number, it seems like human rights are low on their list of importance.  Since the reintroduction of the death there have been hundreds of people sentanced to death in Iraq following very unfair trials("Iraq executions follow ...").   




( Taken from http://patdollard.com/wp-content/uploads/iran-execut.jpg)  


Solutions and Support


     The UN has been trying to stop the death penalty in all of its members (" Growing calls for..."). They have continually voted in favor of a “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”. 137 countries have now abolished the use of the death penalty, and other countries are nearing that decision ("The Death Penalty..."). The U.S. still has the death penalty, but executions have slowed. 14 states don’t have the death penalty, and the country as a whole is starting to turn against it.  The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” passed in 1948 has started to deter countries from accepting the death penalty, considering only eight countries at the time didn’t have the death penalty. UNMAID, a joint UN and African-union peacekeeping group is trying to get the remaining African countries that support the death penalty to abolish it ("Sudan: UN experts..."). Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Campaign for Human Rights all condemn child and unfair executions in other countries. Since executions are committed by a government, individuals can not easily help those who are affected by this directly. However, there are some things that individuals can do to help end this problem. The easiest thing to do would be to raise awareness about this problem and why it should be stopped. They can vote against it in their own country, and protest if your country still supports. Voting for, or making a demonstration for, your individual country to help abolish the death penalty in other countries as well. People can also send appeals to countries like Saudi Arabia to try and convince them to stop their rapid rate of execution. Amnesty International gives the names of people to send the appeals to in their informational articles. They can donate to organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Penal Reform International, Human Rights Association, Stop Child Executions, and Vivere.







1.  Growing calls for end to executions at UN. Retrieved  September 14, 2009 from http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-news/growing-calls-end-executions-un-20081218


2. Sudan: UN experts condemn executions of nine men following torture, unfair trial. Retrieved September 14, 2009 from http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=30513&Cr=sudan&Cr1


3. Iran: End Executions of Juvenile Offenders. Retrieved  Septemeber 14, 2009 from http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/07/28/iran-end-executions-juvenile-offenders


4. General Assembly backs global moratorium against death penalty. Retrieved Septmeber 14, 2009 from http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=24679&Cr=general&Cr1=assembly


5. Iraq executions follow apparently unfair trials. Retrieved September 14, 2009 from http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/iraq-executions-follow-apparently-unfair-trials-20080418


6. The Death Penalty WorldWide. Retrieved September 21, 2009 from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777460.html



7. Messerli, Joe. Should the death penalty be banned as a form of punishment? Retrieved September 23, 2009 from http://www.balancedpolitics.org/death_penalty.htm.




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