Waiting for Death – Torture of Death Penalty a Human Rights Violation – 23 Sep 11

Death

Some time ago I wrote about the inhumane situation of prisoners on death row in India. They are sentenced to death, apply for clemency and again and again have another trial or simply have to wait for a decision or finally the execution. They are for years waiting for someone to kill them. Recently this was an issue in the Indian newspapers and yesterday I got to know that the same issue exists in the USA, too. This is what makes the death penalty torture.

Two days ago, on 21st September 2011, Troy Davis was executed in a jail in America after his death sentence in August 1991. I had never heard about this man until I read the news of his execution and the uproar of voices of human rights activists that followed his death. I read that there had been legal processes, pleads for reconsideration and much more going on ever since his conviction. The case gained more popularity and famous people such as former President Jimmy Carter called for clemency, wrote public letters and tried to take influence so that this man may not have to die. Three times his execution was scheduled and only now, in 2011, 20 years after his first trial, he was brought to death while protesters had been in front of the jail and in other places of the country, pleading his innocence.

While getting to know more about this case, I also read about another case, when Romell Broom was supposed to be put to death by a lethal injection in 2009. The executors tried to find a proper vein for two hours and in the end gave up. The execution was stayed by court. Can you imagine this man’s situation?

See what the world is doing! In the US, a civilized country, in modern civilization, a country that is thought of as one of the most powerful countries of the world, which fights for human rights everywhere, there are people who try, with full approval of the highest courts of the country, to kill another person and don’t manage to. This person was aware that he would die but obviously did not think it would take two hours of psychological torture only to be told that he would not die today! This is similar to the methods of torture that the USA themselves condemn in other countries and during war. This is similar to the method of waterboarding that was used in Guantanamo Bay to make prisoners believe they would drown just to get information from them. There is just a difference: this man had no confession to make that could have saved him!

Now I know it is not only India that has this problem with the death penalty. I wrote before that if you have such a law in your constitution that allows you to kill a person, do it and don’t keep them waiting for it for years. I am against the death penalty but if you anyway are determined to kill a person, don’t torture him on top of it. Seeing those cases however and reading even more about the time that it sometimes takes to actually execute someone, kill someone and end his life, legally, I get more and more convinced that even this in itself is torture. Death penalty has to be stopped in America, in USA and all over the world.

Again there is the question: who are you to decide upon life or death? Who are you to decide whether a person should live or die? Who are you to torture another human being?

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  1. Maurice

    There have always been discussions, protests and even court cases about the ways of execution, too. Is it inhumane if, after lethal injection, a man takes 6 to 10 minutes to die? On the other hand, did his victim have a quick death? Often not!I read that Texas has now stopped the ‘last meal’ before execution because prisoners, who could wish for anything as a last supper, ordered ridiculous amounts of food and then did not eat anything. In my opinion the right decision because it is ridiculous to bring joy of eating to a person whom you are about to kill.
    Many questions, many things to wonder about.

  2. Karen

    Well, you can hardly kill the killer in the same way that his victim died – it would make you just as bad a killer as him! On the other hand, doesn’t killing him make you a murderer anyway? I always wonder what kind of people can perform the executions in US prisons??? How do they manage to stay psychologically fine and sane?

  3. Ida

    I am not sure about the question of stopping the death penalty. There are some points that make me think. For example, is it really secure to keep a serial killer alive? Can you assure me that he is locked up for the rest of his life? No, because that is also illegal, in most countries he can ask for a review and a psychological evaluation after 15 years in prison! And then he only needs to be deceptive enough and there you go, a serial killer is out of jail and nobody knows what he will do next! And think of the costs that you have by keeping people a whole life long, feeding them and providing them with what they need to lead a decent life! What is a decent life behind bars though? If you don’t have the right to kill, do you have the right to take freedom?It is not so easy to decide.

  4. Bill Calfee

    The death penalty is archaic and should be banned, imv aside from the morality of it, as you suggest, it doesn’t even make economic sense to go back and forth for twenty years, as we do in the US, with high priced lawyers and courts! it’s cheaper to just keep them locked up for life, for certain crimes against humanity…bill

  5. Hans-Christian Vom Kolke

    I have fought against the death penalty since I was 14 years, supporting amnesty international in many urgent actions.I cannot understand so many Americans in their support, as revenge (which is a major motive in this positive attitude towards death penalty) is a feeling, which I’m actually lacking (not really a lack, is it 🙂 )
    The death penalty is in no accordance with the the principles of humanity and links us to the darkest periods of human history!

  6. Ramona

    I never understood what could be the satisfaction to know that the murder of your son (for example) is going to be killed, too… And if you look at those recent cases of execution, the family of the victim was often AGAINST the execution, too!

  7. Hans-Christian Vom Kolke

    Yes, but this time (Troy Davis) I heard, that the mother of the victim said, that now she will find peace. How can you find peace in the killing of another person???????????

  8. Ramona

    But one of the last things that he said to them was that he was innocent and they should keep on searching for the real murderer…

  9. Emily

    I have often thought that living the rest of your life in jail would actually be more torture that being executed right away. You would have to live with your guilt and your pain for the rest of your life without freedom.
    And I am actually a firm believer in the notion that people can change and grow. Perhaps someone who spent their whole life in jail for committing murder would actually benefit from the time to contemplate it. Not that they necessarily should be released at any point, but they should at least be given time to contemplate and perhaps heal. I think it is better for the energy of the universe to provide room for forgiveness and healing, rather than increase the amount of unnecessary death.

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