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Islamic Law And The Juvenile Death Penalty

992 words - 4 pages

As Emile Durkheim, believed society's punishments are a window through which society's “true nature” can be viewed. And an important reason why this punishment is thought of with such repugnance is that they have been historically linked to the process of torture. But if a poll were conducted tomorrow in Islamic countries, would we find considerable support for juvenile death penalty?

Despite the abolition or moratorium of capital punishment for juveniles in Islamic countries, still children are being executed. It demonstrates, simple attempts to outlaw the juvenile death penalty will not solve the problem, because the moratorium was not proclaimed for the genuine attempts to humanize the society, but rather to please the International community, more execution of juveniles are possible, especially in the case of a change of political power.

The question of whether to leave juvenile death penalty in the statutes of Islamic countries, prolong the moratorium on it, or abolish it is one which I think embodies the larger realities of political, legal, and social developments in the Islamic countries. Must abolition of juvenile death penalty await the decline of Islamic authoritarian governments or will hard-line regimes abolish the execution of juveniles to coordinate with the contemporary standards of Islamic societies.

Several Muslim nations with large Islamic populations have recently gone long periods without juvenile executions, including Yemen and Sudan. Most of Islamic countries, low-execution nations have governments with secular rather than religious orientations, but the tiny nation of Brunei Darussalam has combined an Islamic theocratic regime with no execution for the past half century.

Although the abolition of juvenile death penalty for non-hodoud and qesas crimes seems to be a very positive aspect of the law, the majority of executions of juvenile offenders in Islamic countries are cases of “qesas” where the individual has been found guilty of murder and hodoud (prescribed crimes). It is unacceptable for the authorities to separate cases of murder or hodoud crimes from other crimes carrying the death penalty. Legislations in Islamic countries are urgently required to ensure that no person is sentenced to death for any crime, including murder and hodoud crimes, when the crimes were committed when the offender was under the age of eighteen. And even though retentionist Islamic countries appear to be moving further down the road to abolition, the political and paradoxical ramifications involved in such a venture erect barriers for minimum age of capital punishment challenges in Muslim nations.

Several currents of thought exist in the Islamic world today. Disagreements are numerous, deep and recurring. Among these, a small minority demands the immediate and strict application of hodoud, assessing this as essential prerequisite to truly defining a “Muslim majority society” as “Islamic”. Others,...

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