Proud to be human?

A NEW film, directed by Timothy Spall, has just been released in cinemas. It relates the story of Britain s famous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint. His words on retiring were: Capital punishment solves nothing, and is only an antiquated relic of a primitive

A NEW film, directed by Timothy Spall, has just been released in cinemas. It relates the story of Britain's famous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint. His words on retiring were: "Capital punishment solves nothing, and is only an antiquated relic of a primitive desire for revenge".

Now we hear the grim allegations of China's organ transplant system, whereby executed prisoners' organs are used without permission for the treatment of needy patients. The conjunction of execution and renewed life throws up wildly conflicting moral stands.

The death penalty has been abolished in many countries. The arguments against killing alleged criminals are simple. Many of the trials preceeding sentence are deeply unfair, based on little legal balance. The death penalty does not decrease crime. Execution debases the executioners, renders them legitimate murderers.

Ninety-four per cent of executions last year took place in just four countries - China (1,770), Iran (94), Saudi Arabia (86) and the USA (60). Another scary piece of evidence lately made public is the "rendering" process, whereby alleged criminals are flown to countries where "confessions" are extracted under torture. Is this civilized behaviour? Does it make us proud to be human?


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If anyone reading this is concerned and wants to be involved in removing the retaliatory, degrading process of the death penalty, they can look in the Amnesty International web site www.amnesty.org.uk/action/camp/dp/index.shtml.

FIONA CAITHNESS, Station Road, Catworth

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