Thoughts on the death penalty

Dewan Sadia Mazid

The Amnesty International views the death penalty as a violation of human right but it is still practiced in many countries in the form of capital punishment. In the last few decades many countries had abolished death and there is a growing momentum towards the abolition of the death penalty across the world. 

Today there are 56 countries which still support capital punishment and implement it. Bangladesh as one such country continues to use the death penalty. In 2017, according to Amnesty International there were 993 executions in 23 countries. 

In 2016 the numbers of execution was 1,032 which was a decline of 39 percent from 2015 when the numbers of execution was 1,634. We can definitely notice a trend; the total number of executions per year is declining. 

That being said countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China and many more are still carrying out legal executions through the death penalty.

There are many reasons why death penalty shouldn’t be a part of legal punishment. Let us begin with the obvious one which is we can’t create human lives therefore we don’t have any rights to take something which we cannot create. Human lives are precious and taking it is against all religious and moral beliefs. 

There are many cases where convicted and executed individuals were found innocent of the crime for which they were executed. Timothy Evans, a Welsh man in England, was executed for the murder of his daughter and wife. After his execution, it was discovered that his neighbor, who was a serial killer, was responsible. 

The moral cost of executing an innocent man on the judicial system is an intolerable cost. Some might say these are rare cases but that’s not true, according to National Registry of Exonerations more than 25000 people were exonerated after being sentenced to death. I would argue that the death sentence of one innocent person is one too many. 

The death penalty does not allow a person to repent or realize his mistakes. Beside death penalty gives notoriety and fame to many offenders who don’t deserve it. This is insulting for the victims and their family members. 

Surely, we all remember about Ted Bundy whose crime had received great publicity, inspiring movies and TV shows, and which might encourage copycat crimes. There is an entire article on the number of murders inspired by the movie Natural Born Killers.

Doctors always save their patient’s lives but when it comes to lethal injection doctors are involved in taking lives. Many doctors may be morally opposed to be involved in such work but it is also necessary for a doctor to determine and certify the death. 

Death shouldn’t be a solution of a crime; if we choose death for another death or death for another crime then we are no different than the criminals. The death penalty is state sanctioned murder. Guilty, offenders are also human who have the right to life.

Death penalty devalues human lives and by supporting capital punishment, people are directing their hate towards the criminal instead of the crime. People in favor of the death penalty, raise the question, how will countries punish someone who has committed murder, rape, or trafficking if the death penalty is abolished. 

The answer is that serving life time in jail is an effective punishment and is often less expensive than an execution.  The criminal has been successfully removed from society and he will not be able to reoffend. It will also prevent the legal system from being clogged with appeals concerning the death penalty.

A human being has no right to take another human being’s life so by extension the state also does not have the right to take lives. The people should hate the crime not the criminal as Gandhi wrote “hate the sin and not the sinner”. 

Everyone has the right to life including criminals. The right to life is a fundamental human right. It is one we should protect and one the state should not infringe upon. Life is scared and as such we should not support capital punishment and work towards abolishing it from our world.

Dewan Sadia Mazid is a BBA student at American International University-Bangladesh. She is an aspiring author.