Should punishment for a crime. The first known

Should capital
punishment be abolished?

Capital punishment otherwise known as
the death penalty is the legalized killing of a person as a punishment for a
crime. The first known use of capital punishment dates back to the 18th
century in ancient Babylonia (modern day Iraq). King Hammurabi introduced The Code
of Hammurabi, which contains the first ever established laws for capital
punishment. Since then capital punishment has gained widespread use across
several parts of the world. Over time questions on the ethics and morality of
capital punishment have been raised. For instance almost every country in
Europe (except Russia and Belarus) has banned the use of capital punishment in
their legislation. Capital punishment is still in use in many under developed countries
but as well as in developed nations like the USA, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and
South Korea. This raises the question should capital punishment be abolished?

 

Capital punishment has been a
controversial issue throughout time. One country that has garnered attention
for the use of capital punishment is the United States of America. It is odd
for one of the most developed nations in the world to still use the capital
punishment more frequently than usual. In 2016 The United States of America
carried out 20 executions (Amnesty International). Although this number is
relatively low compared to other countries who also carried out executions it is
unusual for a developed nation to use the death penalty so commonly. This may
be because the United States of America believes that capital punishment is a
“significant deterrent” for potential criminals. Although capital punishment is
used, it is only used in extreme cases such as murder, treason, terrorism
(ProCon). The severity of the crime determines whether the criminal is served
with capital punishment. As of September 2016 only 49% of Americans support
capital punishment (Pew Research).Capital punishment had reached a new low in
the United States, the support for death penalty continues to fall. Although it
seems like capital punishment would be used less frequently in the future, the
current conditions of criminals on death row or criminals who are sentenced to
death are inhumane. Inmates on death row are usually kept in solitary confinement
which defies human rights. As of now 31 out of 50 states in the USA actively
use capital punishment as a legal penalty. The government of the United States
works differently compared to its other democratic counterparts in the world.
Even if they wanted to they would not be able to impose a nationwide abolition
on capital punishment. Each state has its own legislative power which is not
controlled by the U.S congress hence it would be the decision of each state on
its own to decide whether or not to abolish capital punishment. Yet Article VI of the U.S. Constitution
states that “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the
Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”(Deathpenaltyinfo).On
the surface it seems like the USA cannot abolish capital punishment it could be
possible if taken to the Supreme Court. But due to the decreasing use of death
penalty over the years, it seems unlikely that it would be abolished.

Almost
all of Europe has abolished capital punishment. The European Union is a fierce
defender of human rights and believes that all humans have the right to live no
matter what. In addition the countries in Europe have lower crime rates than
the countries that do have capital punishment. Scandinavian countries
especially are more peaceful and less violent compared to countries with
capital punishment. In fact nearly all countries in the European Union have
lower crime rates than the United States of America which shows that the lack
of death penalty does not lead to increased crimes.

China had
the highest number of executions in 2016(Amnesty International) .Thousands of
criminals were executed. The exact number is unknown as china keeps this
information classified. Chinese criminals face oppression from the government
.China uses capital punishment for over 55 offences (Theatlantic).The extensive
use of capital punishment violates human rights. Capital punishment is also
used in china for crimes such as adultery, corruption which are not considered
most serious crimes according to international legal standards (Amnesty
USA).The actual figures and facts of sentencing and executions are only
approximations .It is hard to estimate who is sentenced and why they are sentenced
with minimal data. This also reinforces the fact that the increasing use of
capital punishment does not deter crime in a country.

Other
than china, most countries in Asia do enforce capital punishment. In contrast
with the western part of the world where capital punishment is nearly absent;
Asia is still headstrong on their laws on capital punishment. It shows the
nature of two very different parts of the world. In the Eastern part where
almost all countries follow or at least have capital punishment in their
legislation compared to the western world were almost all countries do not have
it at all.

The use
of capital punishment is especially prominent in the Middle Eastern countries
such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan. Iran cites drug offences as its
main offence for carrying out capital punishment. Its form o capital punishment
does not spare juveniles and women. Again the increasing use of the death
penalty does not help the country combat crime. In 2016 Iran executed nearly
567 people (Amnesty International). However Iran is making amendments to its
laws to reduce the number of death sentences. Saudi Arabia carried out 153
execution in 2016(Amnesty International).The Saudi legal system is based on
Sharia law (Islamic Law). Capital punishment can be used for offences ranging
from homosexuality to religious conversion to murder. Executions are carried
out in the form of beheadings or firing squad. These practices are considered
as cruel and some of the offences are not serious enough to be punished with
the death penalty. Another reason why Saudi Arabia carries out these many
executions is to show the power of its regime and how its law is not to be
taken lightly.

 

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