End to Death as Punishment Tool
In the Western world, the United States is deplorably the only country to still use capital punishment. This abhorrent, barbaric instrument of governments is, however, showing a trend towards abolition.
Last year, of 198 countries, 21 carried out executions, a fall of more than a third in the past decade, according to figures from Amnesty International.
In Southeast Asia, where the death penalty is as widely employed as the Middle East, the Philippines is alone in recent years in commendably lifting capital punishment from its statute books. In Indonesia, regrettably, it remains firmly enshrined in law.
In this country, a great number of people are on death row, awaiting execution by firing squad as they attempt to delay that repugnant act with successive appeals in the courts and final a plea to the president, most of which invariably fail.
We learned at the weekend that 58 people are on death row in Indonesia for drugs offenses alone. It’s believed the total number awaiting execution in Indonesia is at least 111. Here, death is applied in cases involving drugs, murder and terrorism. It is time to get rid of it.
Regarding drugs, pre-arrival cards informing people that bringing banned narcotics into the country may result in death has not deterred smugglers. There are more people trying to bring drugs into Bali and wider Indonesia than ever. Murder, however inexcusable, is usually a crime of passion in which the enraged perpetrator does not at the time possess a clear-thinking mind. And we know all too well that terrorists are not put off by the threat of death; in fact, with the three executed for the first Bali bombings, they openly rejoiced in their “martyrdom.”
So, no, the death penalty is not a deterrent, which is what those countries who apply it want us to believe. It is instead a cruel method of dealing with a problem that only serves to render those who use it as bad as those to which it is given.
In a humane, modern society, capital punishment has no place.