'Hanging wont stop nothing. You check?
So said Bugie, a gang member from St Kitts according to an article in Saturday’s Daily Mail. Well Bugie, you and I may well disagree on several matters but on this one we’re in agreement. I check!
The Daily Mail’s three-page feature on the resumption of hangings in St Kitts, a tiny Caribbean island, has propelled this debate back into the British media spotlight.
Interestingly according to the paper, the beautiful island St Kitt is now the murder capital of the world with 23 killings in a population of just 46,000 people.
And in what seems to be a knee-jerk response to this, the Kittian authorities have resorted to the age-old fallacy that the death penalty would deter people from carrying out extreme crimes.
A quick historical analysis and several studies conducted by well-respected organisations have shown that is no credible proof that the death penalty is a more effective deterrent than other forms of punishment. And in fact some studies have shown the opposite. In fact Cassy Stubbs has written about this very same argument on today’s Huffington Post.
St Kitts is currently swimming against the global tide to stop using capital punishment. Just last month in New York the United Nations General Assembly adopted, by a large majority, a second resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
That said, most of the Daily Mail’s bloggers have applauded the execution. I definitely think there should be a few opposing views in this debate.
Capital punishment of any sort is an abhorrent practice which should be abolished. And organisations like Amnesty International will continue to appeal to St Kitts and all countries which carry out this practice to put a stop to this practice.
In this year’s Greetings Card Campaign, one of the people featured is a 72-year-old man in Japan who has been on death row for more than 40 years. There are real concerns about his trial and this man has spent more than half his lifetime living under a dreadful system. If you have any unused Christmas cards, I’m sure Hakamada Iwao would appreciate a message of solidarity and support.
Meanwhile we’ll continue to monitor the return of the death penalty across the Caribbean and appeal for its abolition. Let’s hope that if the St Kitts government won’t listen to human rights organisations like Amnesty, then perhaps they’ll listen to Bugie and his counterparts.
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.