Capital Punishment Controversy Essay

1934 words - 8 pages

Although it is argued that capital punishment is a strong deterrent to crimes and serves as a just punishment, nevertheless, capital punishment should be abolished because it is a violation of human rights, carries a risk of executing innocent people, is a burden on taxpayer’s money and is discriminant in application.
Capital punishment has been argued to be a violation of human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 recognizes that every person has a right to life and further states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” . Death penalty however, is a violation of both these fundamental human rights as it denies the individuals the basic right to life in the name of justice and the punishment is painful in all its forms.

Moreover, despite the efforts to make death penalty as painless as possible, it has been observed that all the methods used for death penalty are painful. The common methods of execution used worldwide including electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, firing squad and lethal injections are either painful in nature or can lead to a very painful death in case of accidents. Amnesty International asserts this by saying,”If hanging a woman by her arms until she experiences excruciating pain is rightly condemned as torture, how does one describe hanging her by the neck until she is dead? If administering 100 volts of electricity to the most sensitive parts of a man’s body evokes disgust, what is the appropriate reaction to the administration of 2,000 volts to his body in order to kill him? Does the use of legal process in these cruelties make their inhumanity justifiable?” . Lethal injection is considered to be the most humane method of execution as it caused least pain. However, in June 2000 an Americal, Bennie Demps was executed by lethal injection in the state of Florida. In his case, the execution officials had a problem finding his vein and it caused a 33 minutes delay as the execution team struggled to insert intravenous needles into convicted murderer. Bennie Demps was injured several times during this course of time and succumbed to death saying “They butchered me back there” (http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/060800/met_3258825.html). This case revealed how painful even the safest method, lethal injections can be if not administered properly. Electrocution was introduced in several states of United States to replace hanging as a more humane method of execution. However, the agony that the victim has to go through during this so called ‘humane’ method of execution by electric chair is described by U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan as,” ...the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner's flesh swells and his skin stretches to...

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