Capital punishment

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Concept.png Capital punishment 
(assassination,  wedge issue)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Legal state killing! Even killing the innocent! Especially in the US!

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty and formerly called judicial homicide, is when a state legally - but perhaps not ethically - kills a person for a crime.[1]

Official narrative

In medieval Europe executioners also taxed lepers and prostitutes, and controlled gambling houses. They were also in charge of the latrines and cesspools, and disposing of animal carcasses. The term is extended to administrators of severe physical punishment that is not prescribed to kill, but which may result in death.[2][3] Methods included, pulling each limb, stoning, burning on a cross, beheading, burying alive, lethal toxic injections and by shooting peloton.[4] An executioner was often a person who was kept form local society. Mass executions where people were killed in public before one assigned butcher for the town were normal, and tense: if the executioner failed in a botched attempt, the executioner could face punishment himself as well.[5]


Crimes that are punishable by death are known as capital crimes, capital offences, or capital felonies, and vary depending on the jurisdiction, but commonly include serious crimes against a person, such as assassination, mass murder, child murder, aggravated rape, terrorism, aircraft hijacking, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, along with crimes against the state such as attempting to overthrow government, treason, espionage, sedition, and piracy. Also, in some cases, acts of recidivism, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping, in addition to drug trafficking, drug dealing, and drug possession, are capital crimes or enhancements. However, states have also imposed punitive executions, for an expansive range of conduct, for political or religious beliefs and practices, for a status beyond one's control, or without employing any significant due process procedures.[6]


According to NGO Amnesty International "The death penalty violates the most fundamental human right – the right to life. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty is discriminatory. It is often used against the most vulnerable in society, including the poor, ethnic and religious minorities, and people with mental disabilities." The penalty has in history often been used against people as a form of revenge, but not consistently. Examples include the people shipped for the Manhattan Project, which not included all the doctors included in the Nuremberg Trials and the trials of the Nazi regime before WW2.[7]

21st Century

Death Penalty: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

As of the late 2010s, 54 countries retain capital punishment, 111 countries have completely abolished it de jure for all crimes, seven have abolished it for ordinary crimes (while maintaining it for special circumstances such as war crimes), and 24 are abolitionist in practice.[8]


Capital punishment was halted in the U.S. in 1972 but reinstated in 1976, and since then, nearly 1,600 people have been executed. To whose gain? Study after study shows that the death penalty does not deter crime, puts innocent people to death, is racially biased, and is cruel and inhumane. It is state-sanctioned homicide, wholly ineffective, often botched, and a much more expensive punishment than life imprisonment. There is no ethical, scientifically supported, medically acceptable or morally justifiable way to carry it out. Programs such as the Innocence Project have shown, over and over, that innocent people have been sentenced to death. Since 1973 nearly 200 people on death row have been exonerated, based on appeals, the reopening of cases, and the entrance of new and sometimes previously suppressed evidence. People have recanted testimony, and supposedly airtight cases have been poked full of evidentiary holes. Through the death penalty, the criminal justice system has killed at least 20 people now believed to have been innocent and uncounted others whose cases have not been reexamined.[9]

Using rigorous statistical and experimental control methods, both economics and criminal justice studies have consistently found that there is no evidence for deterrence of violent crimes in states that allow capital punishment. One such study, a 2009 paper by criminology researchers at the University of Dallas, found the threat or death penalty did not cause lower violent crimes, as it outlines experimental and statistical flaws in econometrics-based death penalty studies that claim to find a correlated reduction in violent crime.[10]


Related Quotations

Boston Herald“These are the facts: Vaccines don’t cause autism. Measles can kill. And lying to vulnerable people about the health and safety of their children ought to be a hanging offense.”Boston Herald editorial staff8 May 2017
George CarlinDrug dealers aren’t afraid to die. They’re already killing each other every day on the streets by the hundreds. Drive-bys, gang shootings, they’re not afraid to die. The death penalty doesn’t mean anything unless you use it on people who are afraid to die. Like… the bankers who launder the drug money! The bankers. Who launder. The drug money! Forget the dealers, you want to slow down that drug traffic, you got to start executing a few of these fucking bankers.”George Carlin
Singapore“Singapore is a representation of humanity’s techno future. The city-state is one of the top Asian cities in terms of wealth, with a highly educated population and impressive infrastructure and public services.

But in the past seven months, Singapore has sent at least 11 people to the gallows. And, that should be a concern for rights groups and Christian Churches that campaign against capital punishment. The figure is met with skepticism, as Singapore does not notify the public about every execution it carries out nor does it release information about inmates waiting for their turn to be executed. Prison officials and executioners are bound by the Official Secrets Act not to divulge details of their work.

The death penalty raises many questions as the state decides who lives and dies, and ultimately what message capital punishment conveys to society as a whole.”
UCA News2022


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:US Issues Assurances on AssangeArticle16 April 2024Joe LauriaStella Assange: “The United States has issued a non-assurance in relation to the First Amendment, and a standard assurance in relation to the death penalty. The Biden Administration must drop this dangerous prosecution before it is too late.”
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