deadly consequences of a flawed justice system

Although I’ve worked at Amnesty for nearly three years, I never stop being shocked at some of the reports we receive about the dreadfully cruel and inhumane way people are treated around the world.

And today’s report about life for men (mostly) and women residing on Nigeria’s death row is one such case in point.

According to Amnesty’s report ‘Waiting for the Hangman’, Nigeria’s criminal justice system is riddled with flaws which means that innocent people may well have been executed.

The report actually details some breathtakingly shocking facts.  

Apparently most people sentenced to death had been convicted on confessions alone; and many confessions were extracted under torture.

And as well as flimsy evidence resulting in people being sentenced to death, Amnesty found that conditions under which these people live are truly abhorrent. Some of the prisoners awaiting execution are heldin cells where they can see the hangings taking place. And some are forced to clean the gallows afterwards.  

There’s a lot more in this report which time doesn’t allow me to cover in this blog, so I recommend you read it when you can.

Needless to say, Amnesty’s calling on the Nigerian government to impose an immediate moratorium on executions in light of its findings. I really hope that the authorities heed these findings and put an end to this dreadful practice.

While we’re on the subject of executions, you may have heard this morning that the diary of Harry Allen – the last UK hangman – is to be auctioned.

It’s one thing for people to hypothetically discuss bringing back the death penalty, but who would truly volunteer for that job?

As the British executioner Albert Pierrepoint (the one they made the film about) said after giving up his hangman’s job, capital punishment “solves nothing, and is only an antiquated relic of a primitive desire for revenge”. Never a truer word…
 
‘til the next time

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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