Death Penalty


40 years of campaigning to end the death penalty – why Amnesty International decided to campaign on this.

  • The death penalty is the ultimate denial of a basic human right – the right to life. The state shouldn’t be able to take that away from you as a punishment within a criminal justice system. The death penalty also denies someone the right to be free from torture. It is a violent irreversible punishment.
  • Amnesty opposes the use of the death penalty in every single case. No matter what the crime, who the alleged criminal is, or the method proposed to execute them – we always stand against it.
  • The death penalty is irreversible and mistakes happen. Execution is the ultimate, irrevocable punishment: the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated. Since 1973, for example, 150 US prisoners sent to death row have later been exonerated (cleared of the crime/s they were, or were due to be, executed for). Many people have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt.
  • It doesn’t deter crime. Countries that execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to deter people from committing crime. This claim has been repeatedly discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime than imprisonment.
  • It’s often used within skewed justice systems. Some of the countries executing the most people have deeply unfair legal systems. The ‘top’ three executing countries – China, Iran and Iraq – have issued death sentences after unfair trials. Many death sentences are issued after ‘confessions’ that have been obtained through torture.
  • It’s discriminatory. You are more likely to be sentenced to death if you are poor or belong to a racial, ethnic or religious minority because of discrimination in the justice system. Also, poor and marginalized groups have less access to the legal resources needed to defend themselves.
  • It’s used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, for example Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.

For more information and actions please click here.

2 Responses to “Death Penalty”

  1. Katherine Mathews October 14, 2013 at 17:45 #

    The death penalty has to stop

  2. pirate1965 March 8, 2015 at 23:33 #

    So does murder and other heinous crimes!

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