A Critique on Death Penalty : Bangladesh Perspective : A Study
In the course of this thesis I have tried to focus on different significant aspects of death penalty. Death Penalty is a very contentious issue in some cultures. I have discussed here the provisions regarding death penalty in Bangladesh I have presented some arguments regarding death penalty. I have also tried to focus how it is violating human rights.
Where there is a crime, there should be a punishment. Because no one should escape from law. The purpose of punishment to make the society safer for its people. In fact punishing the offenders is a primary function of all civil states. The criminal should be punished, this matter is accepted by all the society but the crucial problem to day is whether a criminal is to be regarded by society us a nuisance to be abated or an enemy to be crusted or a patient to be treated
With the broader objective of studying An Inquiry in to nature of the Death Penalty: Some Observation; the present research specially focuses on present scenario of the death penalty in Bangladesh and the world wide to this matter, which comprises the following issues:
- To explore the ways of protecting state through death penalty ;
- How death penalty protect the criminal of going offence?
- What are the aims of giving this death penalty?
- Is this any alternatives of death penalty;
- To find out that how the state have right to take the life of a criminal;
- To find out the enforcement mechanisms of the death penalty;
- To explore the aims of giving this death penalty ;
- To find out the alternative of death penalty;
- To compare the social aspects in our county & developed country after giving this death penalty
Rationale of the Study:
Any type of crime should be punished for the sake of the society. Punishment for a wrong doing can make a criminal understood about the bad sides of the task. Punishment refers to the consequence for undesired behavior. But there are many grounds on which commits
A criminal is considered gross danger to the existence of the society.In our Penal code different types of punishment are defined this are;
- Imprisonment for life,
- Imprisonment(rigorous or simple),
- Forfeiture of the property,
- Nowadays it is the most issue of violating human rights.
- The statistics given by a Report made me interested, Support for the Death Penalty: U.S., Britain, Canada – held that;
- 64% of Americans favor the death penalty for a person convicted of murder.
- Canadians are about evenly split on the subject, with 48% in favor of the death penalty 49% opposed.
- In Great Britain, a slim majority supports the death penalty, with 55% in favor and 41% opposed.
- I want to say that, I have chosen this topic cause I think a life is so valuable and the death penalty is a violation of human rights. It is necessary to consider how it deters crime when its existence directly confronts people.
Research methodology: A research work may put up by following types of methodology. There have three types of methodology such as:
(1) Historical study,
(2) Empirical study,
(3) Analytical study.
In this study, it had been mostly relied on the following secondary methodologies in doing my research monograph; these are;
- Content analysis of legal provisions of Acts in Bangladesh.
- Secondary documents like books, journal and articles (mentioned in Bibliography).
- Case study of women who faced and experienced violence by their intimate partner or others.
- Analysis of statistics sourced by Amnesty International.
- The major limitation is the time-line to prepare a vast area like , A Critique on Death Penalty: Bangladesh Perspective: A Study, but I tried my best within the given period to complete this study, for the partial fulfillment of the requirement for LL.M degree.
- Another most important hurdle I have faced to complete the study was the cost and budget of surveying, managing case studies, collecting interviews etc. The total expense carried out only by my personal budget, without any funding from any sponsor.
- Though there were so many obstacles in researching my topic, I finally succeeded to complete this paper at best possible way.
Right to life, that life of every human being is very valuable, is a core concept of human civilization. All the major religions and philosophies declared that human life is inviolable. None has any right to take the life of another. If anybody takes the life of another, she/he will be punished with death penalty. This basic proposition has been accepted by most of the earlier human societies and it has not been questioned until the modern humanitarian movement has taken momentum. Death penalty is a relevant issue for every human society and it constitutes a “dilemma of hidden human divinity versus hubristic death penalty.” The concept of a right to life is central to debates on the issues of death penalty, euthanasia, self defense, abortion and war.
- In 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence declared that all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that “among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
- In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly declared in article three:
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
- In 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
“Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life” —Article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms enshrined that,
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”
A central principle of a just society is that every person has an equal right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Within that framework, an argument for capital punishment can be formulated along the following lines: some acts are so vile and so destructive of community that they invalidate the right of the perpetrator to membership and even to life. Those who violate the personhood of others, especially if this is done persistently as a habit must pay the ultimate penalty. This punishment must be inflicted for the sake of maintaining the community whose foundation has been violated. We can debate whether some non-lethal alternative is a fitting substitute for the death penalty. But the standard of judgment is whether the punishment fits the crime and sufficiently honors the nature of moral community.
Capital punishment, also called the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. “The term ‘capital ‘derives from the Latin caput, literally meaning ‘head’ but also a pars pro toto for the whole individual.” Capital punishment is, therefore, a penalty for a serious crime, which requires death of the offender either by decapitation (losing one’s head) or otherwise. It is the ultimate corporal punishment constituting the end of all physical functions forever. Prisoners, who are given death penalty, are segregated from other prisoners and kept in some specially separated area of the prison, where they wait for their execution. This separated area is known as “death row” in some places of the world.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica “capital punishment, also called death penalty, execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense. Capital punishment should be distinguished from extrajudicial executions carried out without due process of law. The term death penalty is sometimes used interchangeably with capital punishment, though imposition of the penalty is not always followed by execution (even when it is upheld on appeal), because of the possibility of commutation to life imprisonment.”
According to Cambridge Dictionary Capital punishment is “punishment by death, as ordered by a legal system.”
The Columbia Encyclopedia, in its 2008 sixth edition, under the heading titled “Capital Punishment,” offered the following:
“Capital punishment: Imposition of a penalty of death by the state. Capital punishment was widely applied in ancient times; it can be found (c.1750 BC) in the Code of Hammurabi. From the fall of Rome to the beginnings of the modern era, capital punishment was practiced throughout Western Europe…
The Catholic Encyclopedia, a compilation of Catholic teachings and definitions originally published in 1907, in an entry titled “Capital Punishment,” stated:
“The infliction by due legal process of the penalty of death as a punishment for crime. The Latin’s use the word capitalist (from caput, head) to describe that which related to life, that by which life is endangered. They used the neuter form of this adjective, i.e., capital, substantively to denominate death, actual or civil, and banishment imposed by public authority in consequence of crime. The idea of capital punishment is of great antiquity and formed a part of the primal concepts of the human race.”
The death penalty is the most controversial penal practice in the modern world. Other harsh, physical forms of criminal punishment—referred to as corporal punishment—have generally been eliminated in modern times as uncivilized and unnecessary. In the majority of countries, contemporary methods of punishment—such as imprisonment or fines—no longer involve the infliction of physical pain. Although imprisonment and fines are universally recognized as necessary to the control of crime, the nations of the world are split on the issue of capital punishment. About 90 nations have abolished the death penalty and an almost equal number of nations (most of which are developing countries) retain it.
Death Penalty is the lawful infliction of death as a punishment and since ancient times it has been used for a wide variety of offences. The bible prescribes death for murder and many other crimes, including kidnapping and witchcraft. By 1500 in England, only major felonies carried the death penalty- treason, murder, larceny, burglary, rape, and arson by 1700, however, parliament had enacted many new capital offences, and hundreds of persons were being put to death each year. Reform of the death penalty began in Europe by the 1750s, and was championed by academics such as the Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria, the French philosopher Voltaire, and the English law reformers Jeremy Bentham and Samuel Romilly. They argued that the death penalty was needlessly cruel, overrated as a deterrent, and occasionally imposed in fatal error. Along with Quaker leaders and other social reformers, they defended life imprisonment as a more rational alternative. By the 1850s these reform efforts began to bear fruit. Venezuela (1853) and Portugal (1867) were the first nations to abolish the death penalty altogether. In the United States Michigan was first state to abolish it for murder in 1847. Today, it is virtually abolished in all of Western Europe and most of Latin America. Britain effectively abolished Death Penalty in 1965.
1. In Primitive Society:
It must be borne in mind that the killing of a person guilty of grievous crime does not, in primitive society, belong to the class of deliberate ordinances enacted by the community. It is rather a form of the impulse of revenge, which the primitive institutions of all the older civilized nations first tolerate, and then regulate and uphold or limit. In primitive conditions revenge has a twofold operation. It is directed in some cases against offenses which affect the individual or the family (such as theft, adultery, and the murder of a freeman); in these cases the injured family proceeds against the offender or his family, and the community takes part only in the interests of public peace, by establishing a penalty on payment of which the offender is to be safe from revenge. Quite a different form of procedure is that against crimes which offend the consciousness of the whole community (sacrilege, unnatural vices, treason in war, etc.). Here the vengeance of the community is provoked, and it acts first by formal delivery of the offender to the will of the members or outlawry, then later by actual execution, in connection with which sacred ceremonies analogous to those of sacrifice are often found. As organized government grows stronger, it takes an official interest in crimes which were originally in the private sphere, withdraws them from individual vengeance, and subjects them to capital punishment. Religion has its influence here.
2. In Roman Law:
In so far as the religious influence remained a permanent factor in the penal code, the Jewish State stands alone among the Mediterranean communities. In the others, especially the Greek and Roman, punishment became exclusively a matter of secular enactment. In the Roman the principle is continuously applied from the fifth century that the death penalty (whether by decapitation, burning, or throwing down a precipice) is due to all grave crimes (including murder, arson, perjury, treason, etc.); but in practise this was mitigated by the frequent substitution of the “interdiction of fire and water,” i.e., banishment from the community, especially after the introduction of the provocatio ad populum, an appeal to the whole body of the people against the decision of consuls and other magistrates empowered to pronounce sentence of outlawry. In the last two centuries of the republic capital punishment was seldom applied, to members of the upper classes at least. But it was never abolished, and when the reorganization of the Roman system took place under imperial legislation it was again more frequently employed, even against Roman citizens. Thus at the beginning of the Christian era it was an accepted institution throughout the Roman Empire, though with variations in usage due to local law. The teaching of Christ made no substantial alteration in these conditions. Of his own recorded sayings, the only one directly bearing on the subject is which refers rather to the eternal working out of the divine justice in the abstract. But Paul speaks expressly in of the legal death-penalty although here it is merely designated as reconcilable with the divine law, not required or imposed as a duty upon the State.
3. In Modern time:
In modern times the maintenance or abolition of the death-penalty has been considered mainly from the standpoint of social utility and social justice. In the history of penology the influence of Christian and humane sentiments has been distinctly felt; but many drastic punishments have been laid aside, not because they were cruel and severe, but because they were ineffective. As mutilation has been practically abandoned in civilized countries, so reliance upon capital punishment as a means of repressing crime has been greatly weakened. A conclusive proof of this is seen in the restriction of the number of offenses to which it is applied. Scarcely more than a century ago 200 offenses were included in the list of capital crime in England. Until 1894 twenty-five offenses were made capital under the military code of the United States, twenty-two under the naval code, and seventeen under the penal code. Under Federal laws the number of capital offenses has now been reduced to three. Many advocates of capital punishment today are willing to limit its application wholly to cases of murder. Within recent years seven or eight States of the Union, including New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Dakota, have decided that attendance on executions should be limited to a number of legal or specified witnesses. The governors of Georgia and Kentucky have recommended similar legislation. In several States the electric chair has been substituted for the gallows with a view of mercifully rendering death instantaneous. Other States of the Union have abolished the death-penalty altogether. Michigan abolished it in 1847, Rhode Island in 1852, Wisconsin in 1853. Maine abolished it in 1876, restored it in 1883, and again abolished it in 1887. In 1903 New Hampshire abolished the death-penalty for murder in the first degree unless the jury should have fixed the same to the verdict; otherwise the sentence is for life imprisonment. In Kansas there have been no official executions since 1872, as no governor has exercised his power to order the execution of a prisoner. In 1907 the legislature amended the law by substituting life imprisonment for the death-penalty. The governor of Nebraska in 1903 urged the legislature to abolish capital punishment. Colorado abolished the death-penalty in 1897, but restored it 1901, as a result of a lynching outbreak in 1900. In its session 1906-07 the subject of the abolition of capital punishment occupied a prominent place in the discussions of the French parliament without final result. On the contrary, the higher development of civilization in these countries, the growth of the, humane sentiment, and increased reliance upon educational and preventive measures, instead of upon drastic deterrent laws, have led to a gradual reduction of crimes of violence
Death penalty world wide there were 3.797 execution in 25 countries in, 2004 amnesty generations annual report on official judicial execution reveled this figure. In the people’s Republic of Cahina (PRC) 9 Lout of every 10 execution took place. Vailcllell elated every yea China carry out at last 3400 execution. From 1990 to 2003. The average number of executions per year was 2.242 as reported by amnesty. Between 1990 and 2001. The PRC has .executed at least 20,000 people. Among them 1781 people were executed between April and July 2001 uunder a Sttrike Hard” crime crackdown.”
The 12 countries with the most execution in 2004
|Country||Execution||Executions per 100 million residents|
Development of the Death Penalty:
In the older development of the penal code of all nations, corporal punishment is found concurrently with penalties affecting the property of the offender; but the corporal is finally preferred because it is capable of application alike to all, while money fines have a varying effect according to the wealth of the offender. By degrees the permission of compounding for corporal penalties is abolished, with the gradual building up from the twelfth century of modern principles of government. The death-penalty is increasingly preferred as emphasizing the thought of the equality of all men before the law. It is misused for a time as the easiest way of ridding society of dangerous persons, and then, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the question is widely discussed how far it ought properly to be applied, sad the principle of justice is urged in favor of its restriction to very grave crimes. These arguments, however, produced no great effect until the reaction from the excessive use of it led to the creation of a third form of penalty in a regular system of imprisonment, thoroughly established about 1700. The considerations which moved John Howard and others in the’ eighteenth century to agitate for prison reform on the ground of humanity led also to the more frequent discussion of the desirability of abolishing capital punishment, and finally to an almost universal recognition of the sole ground on which its maintenance can be defended. It is now admitted that on grounds of humanity the State has no right to annihilate the individual existence, and that so far as these grounds go, the heaviest penalty that may be inflicted is that of penal servitude for life. From the standpoint, however, of abstract justice, it is still possible to defend the death-penalty, not in the interest of terrifying offenders, nor yet on the basis of a lex talionis, but on that of a proportion between crime and penalty, which may fairly demand that the severity of the punishment shall correspond in some measure to the importance of the social function injured by the crime. With this is connected the requirement that the penalty shall be impressive as much so as the crime in order that the authority of the law shall be upheld, and equal, falling with the same severity on all classes of the community. The validity of this argument will be denied by those who reject the principle of equivalent compensation and, taking their stand exclusively on the principle of humanity, seek as the result of punishment the amelioration of the offender and the deterrence of him from any further crimes. But the fact that many of those who take this theoretical view acquiesce in the retention of capital punishment in practice shows that the traditional verdict of many centuries as to the relation of crime and punishment is still to be reckoned with in any discussion of this question.
Religious views on Death Penalty:
Scholars of Islam hold it to be permissible but the victim or the family of the victim has the right to pardon. In Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh), to forbid what is not forbidden is forbidden. Consequently, it is impossible to make a case for abolition of the death penalty, which is explicitly endorsed.
Sharia Law or Islamic law may require death penalty; there is great variation within Islamic nations as to actual capital punishment. Apostasy in Islam and stoning to death in Islam are controversial topics. Furthermore, as expressed in the Qur’an, death penalty is condoned. Although the Qur’an prescribes the death penalty for several hadd (fixed) crimes—including rape—murder is not among them. Instead, murder is treated as a civil crime and is covered by the law of qisas (retaliation), whereby the relatives of the victim decide whether the offender is punished with death by the authorities or made to pay diyah (wergild) as compensation.
“If anyone kills person—unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he killed all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people” (Qur’an 5:32). “Spreading mischief in the land” can mean many different things, but is generally interpreted to mean those crimes that affect the community as a whole, and destabilize the society. Crimes that have fallen under this description have included: (1) Treason, when one helps an enemy of the Muslim community; (2) Apostasy, when one leaves the faith; (3) Land, sea, or air piracy; (4) Rape; (5) Adultery; (6) Homosexual behavior.
There is disagreement among Buddhists as to whether or not Buddhism forbids the death penalty. The first of the Five Precepts (Panca-sila) is to abstain from destruction of life. Chapter 10 of the Dhammapada states: “Everyone fears punishment; everyone fears death, just as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill. Everyone fears punishment; everyone loves life, as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill.”
Chapter 26, the final chapter of the Dhammapada, states, “Him I call a brahmin who has put aside weapons and renounced violence toward all creatures. He neither kills nor helps others to kill.” These sentences are interpreted by many Buddhists (especially in the West) as an injunction against supporting any legal measure which might lead to the death penalty. However, as is often the case with the interpretation of scripture, there is dispute on this matter. Buddhist-majority states vary in their policy. For example, Bhutan has abolished the death penalty, but Thailand still retains it, although Buddhism is the official religion in both. Historically, most states where the official religion is Buddhism have imposed capital punishment for some offenses.
Although some interpret that Jesus’ teachings condemn the death penalty in The Gospel of Luke and The Gospel of Matthew regarding Turning the other cheek, and John 8:7 in which Jesus intervenes in the stoning of an adulteress, rebuking the mob with the phrase “may he who is without sin cast the first stone”, others consider Romans 13:3-4 to support it. Also, Leviticus 20:2-27 has a whole list of situations in which execution is supported. Christian positions on this vary. The sixth commandment (fifth in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches) is preached as ‘Thou shalt not kill’ by some denominations and as ‘Thou shalt not murder’ by others. As some denominations do not have a hard-line stance on the subject, Christians of such denominations are free to make a personal decision.
4. Roman Catholic Church:
The Church classes capital punishment as a form of “lawful slaying”, a view derived from the thought of theological authorities such as Thomas Aquinas, who accepted the death penalty as a necessary deterrent and prevention method, but not as a means of vengeance. In Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II suggested that capital punishment should be avoided unless it is the only way to defend society from the offender in question, opining that punishment “ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” The most recent edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church restates this view.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also called Mormons) neither promotes nor opposes capital punishment. They officially state it is a “matter to be decided solely by the prescribed processes of civil law.”
6. Eastern Orthodox Christianity:
Eastern Orthodox Christianity generally has a negative view of the death penalty, but there is little said either way in this religion.
7. Esoteric Christianity:
The Rosicrucian Fellowship and many other Christian esoteric schools condemn capital punishment in all circumstances.
Methods of Death Penalty:
Methods of capital punishment include:
|Animals||Tearing apart by horses, e.g. in ancient China, with five horses; or “quartering,” with four horses, as in The Song of Roland and Child OwletDevouring by:|
# animals such as dogs or wolves, as in Ancient Rome and the Biblical lion’s den;
#rodents, such as rats;
#alligators or crocodiles;
#carnivorous fish, such as piranhas or sharks;
#crustaceans, such as crabs;
#insects, such as ants
#stings from scorpions and bites by snakes, spiders, etc.
|Burning||especially for religious heretics and witches on the stake|
|Boiling to death|
|Breaking wheel||also known as the Catherine wheel|
|Burial alive||also known as the pit|
|Crushing||by a weight, abruptly or as a slow ordeal.|
|Death flights||throwing someone off a plane or helicopter.|
|Decapitation||also known as beheading (as by sword, axe or guillotine)|
|Defenestration||throwing someone from a window has been used more by rebels and angry mobs than by official executions.|
|Drawing and quartering||Drowning ducking stool;|
|Flaying||cutting off the skin|
|Hanging||The mostly used method in Bangladesh|
|Nitrogen asphyxiation||theoretically humane method|
|Shooting||by firing squad|
|By a single shot||(such as the neck shot, often performed on a kneeling prisoner, as in China)|
Some of the historical methods of capital punishment are briefly discussed:
Hanging was first adopted as a method of execution about 2500 years ago in Persia. It was reserved for male criminals only. It was considered as less gruesome, less bloody and a cheap method of execution. Moreover, no skilled executioner was needed to perform the job. Hanging is still practiced in some countries like Singapore, Japan, India, Pakistan and three states in USA.
Decapitation or beheading by sword or axe was a common execution practice in Europe until 1850. The chastisement was reserved for person’s belonging to upper class, noblemen etc. This execution method originated from the Roman civilization. This was a bloody and messy method of execution but at least the victim was spared of the torture and pain. Decapitation was last practiced in Bavaria in 1954, after which guillotine replaced it as an execution method.
Burning at the Stake
This was the most common method of execution for people accused of witchcraft or heresy. The victim would be tied to a stake with chains or ropes on top of a heap of faggots. In another method, the faggots would surround the stake with victim tied to it, allowing him to die in flames. The execution would often take place in public view, so as to ascertain the consequences of the offense.
Drowning was particularly reserved for women offenders. It was considered as a painless and ‘mild’ form of execution. Also some favored male offenders were granted this ‘privilege.’ Drowning was also mostly used in the cases of involvement of witchcraft. The basic idea was that the accused person would float if he/she were a witch and drown if innocent.
This is probably the most glorified method of execution. The most famous victim of crucifixion is none other than Jesus Christ. This is a painful method of execution in which the condemned would be nailed to a wooden cross and left there to die.
Quartering by Horses
There are not many incidences of execution by this method. The few that took place have a scary recount in the chronicles. This method of execution was reserved for the crimes pertaining to the murders and attempts to murder of people of royal descent.
Wheel was used in many ways for the execution purpose. A person would be either tied to the outer rim of the wheel and the wheel would be made to rotate against a nailed surface, or a person would be made to lie across the slow moving wheel and people would break his limbs with iron bars.
This method is mostly practiced in Islamic countries. The main offense that accounts for this method of execution is adultery. The victim is tied to the pole in front of a large gathering of people. Stones are pelted at the victim by the large number of people gathered at the venue. This is by far the most torturous and cruel method of execution.
Strangulation was reserved for women who were accused for the offense that accounted execution by hanging. Strangulation was performed with garrot, a special device for ligature strangulation.
No offender in the world deserves this punishment, whatsoever his crime may. The method includes stabbing a long stake through one end of the body and taking it out from the other. The stake would be inserted in the private organs of the offenders.
Death Penalty in Bangladesh
Constitutional, Penal & Statutory provisions for Death Penalty in BD
In Bangladesh we exercise death penalty as death penalty to execute the murderer or a convict of vital crime from ancient time. From which time we exercise it didn’t know. Though the sentences of death penalty pass frequently from the courts but the executions of those sentences are not frequent as well. Every year very few convicts are executed in Bangladesh. Some times the Government of the country releases the convict by showing political issue.
Constitutional Provisions on death penalty:
The penal policy of Bangladesh appears to be good in controlling crime and criminals, but a subtle analysis discloses the flaws of the policy. First, the mandatory death provided by the Penal Code is violation of Articles 31, 32 and 35 (5) of the Constitution.
ü Article 31 of the Constitution states that, no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any citizen or resident of Bangladesh shall be taken except in accordance with law. The requirement of Article 31 is that if the state tries to take any detrimental action to life or liberty of any person, the state has to fulfill two conditions, procedural due process and substantive due process.
ü Article 32 provided that “No person shall be deprived of life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.” The deprivation of life means total loss (death penalty) and deprivation of liberty means confining any person within the prison. Only the security of the organized society or state can justify deprivation of life or liberty of any citizen. If there is no compelling state necessity to take the life of any citizen, the death sentence is not permissible.
ü The mandatory death penalty provided by s.302 of the Penal Code is clear violation of Article 31 and 32 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, because through these provisions the farmers recognized the inviolability and sacrosanct nature of human life and liberty. The inherent philosophy behind these two provisions is to enhance and entrench the dignity of human life and liberty. That has clearly been violated by the mandatory nature of death punishment provided by the penal law.
ü Article 35 (6), mandatory death penalty is violation because it undermines the sanctity of human life and liberty and leaves no space for the discretion of the judges.
Penal Code-1860 Provision on death penalty:
It would be pertinent to refer to the relevant provisions of the Penal Code-1898, which provide for death sentence for certain specified offences. These offences are:
1. Waging war against the Government (Section 121)
2. Abetment of mutiny (Section 132)
3. Giving or fabricating false evidence leading to procure one’s conviction for capital offence (Section 194)
4. Murder (Section 302)
5. Abetment of suicide by child or insane person (Section 305)
6. Attempt to murder by a life convict, if hurt is caused (Section 307)
7. Dacoity with murder (Section 396)
8. Kidnapping for ransom (Section 364A)
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908 further requires the death sentence of death imposed by the Sessions Judge can be executed only after it is confirmed by the High Court Division.
The history of human civilization reveals that during no period of time death penalty has been discarded as a mode of punishment. This finds support in the observation made by Sir Henry Maine who stated, “RomanRepublic did not abolish death sentence though its non use was primarily directed by the practice of self-banishment or exile and the procedure of questions. Nor does the civilization of Indian subcontinent know of abolition of death sentence although its disuse at some point of time in history has been effected because “the people were most truthful, soft hearted and benevolent and to them vocal remonstrance sufficed. But in the event of failure of these measures, corporal punishment and death sentence were invoked to prevent the society from violent criminals.
Penologists have reacted to capital punishment differently. According to the abolitionists, the enormous increase in homicide crime-rate reflects upon the futility of death sentence. Another argument generally put forth by abolitionists is that hardened criminals commit most cold-blooded murders in a masterly manner. They proceed with their criminal activity in such a way that even if they are caught, they are sure to escape punishment due to one or other procedural law in the existing criminal law.
Different Statutory Provisions for Death Penalty:
The Special Powers Act, 1974 has provided death penalty for the offences of
Sabotage in Section- 15,
Counterfeiting currency notes and Government stamps Section- 25A,
Smuggling in Section- 25B, and
Adulteration of, or sale adulterated food, drink drugs or cosmetics in Section-25C.
“Nari o’ Shishu Nirjaton Daman Ain, 2000” has incorporated death as punishment for the offences committed by combustible and likely other substances (section.4), for women trafficking etc (section.5), for children trafficking (section.6), for ransom (section.7), for ravishing any woman or child who dies consequently [section.9(2)], causing death for dowry (section.11), maiming or mutilation of children for begging. (section.12).
Bangladesh criticized for “Child” Death Sentence
October 19, 2005: the international children’s charity Save the Children, criticized the case of Sukur Ali a man sentenced to death for crimes he committed when he was 14 years old. Ali, now 20, was awaiting execution for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl after Bangladesh’s Supreme Court upheld his sentence in May 2005. Ali was arrested when he was aged 14, allegedly confessing the crimes to police and sentenced to death in July 2001. Save the Children expressed “serious concern” at the sentence which it said contravened national and international law.
“We are seriously concerned as the case was a basic failure up to the highest tier of the judiciary,” Shohana Shabnam, program manager of Save the Children, Bangladesh, said.
Ali’s trial in an adult rather than a juvenile court was a “gross violation” of the country’s Children Act 1974,s he said.
Imposing the death sentence for a crime committed by a person under the age of 18 also contravened the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, she said.
Bangladesh was among the first countries to ratify the convention in 1989.
Legal experts and local human right groups have also expressed concern at the sentence.
“If this execution is carried out, it will be a gross violation of human rights,” said Shahdeen Malik, head of law at BracUniversity in Dhaka.
“There is no such precedent “– he also added.
Early death penalty laws:
The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C. in the Code of King Hammaurabi of Babylon, which codified the death penalty for 25 crimes. The death penalty was also part of the Fourteenth Century B.C.’s Hittite Code; in the Seventh Century B.C.’s Draconian Code of Athens, which made death the only punishment for all crimes; and in the Fifth Century B.C’s Roman law of the Twelve Tablets. Death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement.
In the Tenth Century A.D. hanging became the usual method of execution in Britain. In the Following century, William the Conquerer would not allow persons to be hanged or otherwise executed for any crime, except in times of war. This trend would not last, for in the Sixteenth Century, under the reign of Henry VII, as many as 72,000 people are estimated to have been executed. Some common methods of execution at that time were boiling, burning at the stake, hanging, beheading, and drawing and quartering. Executions were carried out for such capital offenses marrying a Jew, not confessing to a crime, and treason.
The number of capital crimes in Britain continued to rise throughout the next two centuries. By the 1700s, 222 were punishable by death in Britain, including stealing, cutting down a tree, and robbing a rabbit warren. Because of the severity of the death penalty, many juries would not convict defendants if the offense was not serious.
Famous Cases of Death Penalty
Bangabandhu murder case
In the early dawn of 15th August, 1975 the then president and the founding father of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh , Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the members of his family, excepting two daughters, in the official residence of the then President at Road No. 3, Dhanmondi R/A, were killed .
The Supreme Court’s upholding of the convictions of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family should now bring a long national agony to an end. The pains the nation has gone through since the Father of the Nation and most members of his family were cut down on 15 August 1975 have also been for it a living shame. The shame stems from the fact that for twenty-one years from 1975 to 1996, the course of justice was obstructed by the infamous indemnity ordinance protecting the assassins. The ordinance, decreed by the usurper regime of Khondokar Moshtaq in September 1975, was incorporated in the constitution through the Fifth Amendment by the Ziaur Rahman regime in 1979. Nowhere in the world has there been such an instance of a deliberate closing of all avenues to justice. And this was the shame we lived with, until the Awami League government led by Sheikh Hasina repealed the black law in 1996 and brought Bangabandhu’s assassins to trial. In November 1998, Bangabandhu’s assassins were condemned to death. The process unfortunately was not taken to a logical judicial conclusion. The delays, the frequent instances of judges feeling embarrassed to hear the appeals of the convicted and the clear, pathetic indifference of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government toward pursuing the case were to lead to a stalemate. Despite exhortations to reconstitute the bench by placing new judges there, the then government kept looking the other way. It could have done better.
The judgement delivered on Thursday is a new milestone for the nation. The reasons are not difficult to comprehend. In the first place, it upholds the idea that the people of Bangladesh, for all their trials and tribulations in the past, are wedded to the rule of law and will therefore go all the way to ensure the supremacy of this principle in their collective social and political life. In the second, the judgement is a clear reflection of Bangladesh’s belief in due process, in the thought that crime of any kind and degree can best be handled by a transparent judicial system rather than by special tribunals or special courts. It goes to Sheikh Hasina’s credit that back in 1996 she opted for a trial by open court rather than short-circuit the process. We can now proclaim to the outside world with pride that even if the process of trying Bangabandhu’s killers has been painfully long and arduous, there can be no question that it has fulfilled the demands of the law. That is our achievement as a people. And now that the law has spoken, through making it clear point by point why the appeals of the convicts could not be entertained, it will be the expectation of the nation that the bad culture of changing politics through assassination and other violent means will come to an end. That crime cannot remain unpunished is a truth now re-emphasised by the judgement.
For the nation, we will note, it has been deeply disturbing that the trial and conviction of Bangabandhu’s assassins took as long as it did. And yet our satisfaction is in knowing that finally the wheels of justice have rolled. Justice was derailed, yes. But finally it has prevailed, which makes it unmistakably clear that while the truth may be suppressed for sometime, there will eventually be a moment when it reveals itself and emerges triumphant. History cannot be rewritten or written off. That is what Thursday’s judgement so palpably demonstrates.
Let this triumph of justice now make the path easier for our democracy to run smooth and clear.
Great, yet I feel no joy because the other convicts are still at large and they need to be brought back home to face this long waited justice. Bangladesh government should use its diplomatic and legal channels to get these thugs from their hiding places.
After 34 years of uncertainties, manipulation and agonising delay, the legal process of the Bangabandhu Murder Case has come to an end. Evidently in this case justice has been delayed but not denied.The people will feel reinvigorated to put the past behind them, look forward and work towards politics of unity.
Martial law was imposed in the country and an indemnity ordinance was passed on November 8, 1975 by the then parliament immunity from prosecution the self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu by incorporating the notorious said ordinance in the Fifth Amendment to the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh which is a manipulation of the constitution. No subsequent government repealed the said ordinance but played with the constitution until the indemnity ordinance was repealed in 1996 .
The indemnity ordinance caused delay of 21 years even to lodge the FIR which was finally lodged on October 2, 1996. The charge-sheet was submitted on January 15, 1997.The FIR named twenty-three people, of whom four were dead by the time the charge-sheet was prepared. So charges were lodged against nineteen people, of whom twelve were absconding, and seven left to face trial. The trial commenced on March 12, 1997. Because twelve of the accused were absconding, the formalities for trial in absentia had to be completed. It took some time for the formalities to be completed and for state defence counsel to be appointed. On April 7,1997, charges were framed and formally accepted by the court. Five of the condemned convicts are in jail while one of the fugitives has already died during long hiding and the rest are on the run abroad.
Seven honourable judges were embarrassed to hear the case. Finally, Chief Justice Latifur Rahman intervened and a special bench was formed to hear the case.
- Dissenting judgment:
Justice MM Ruhul Amin, sentenced nine of the defendants to death, one to life imprisonment, and acquitted five. Justice ABM Khairul Huq convicted and sentenced to death all fifteen.
There was a split with respect to six of the defendants and the matter went to Justice Fazlul Karim, who acquitted three of the six and sentenced the other three to death.
Finally out of the nineteen charged, twelve were convicted and sentenced to death, and seven were acquitted.
The final judgement was handed down on April 31, 2001.
Ershed AH Sikder Vs. State
The case of the prosecution is brief, is that over the Khulna ferny great affairs condemned prisoner Ershed Ali sikder called Monir to come to a meeting scheduled to be held at Ghat No-4 adjacent to Ice Factory of condemned prisoner Ershed Ali Sikder. Monir along with his companions haled, Mohammad All proceeded towards the ghat. When Monir disclosed his identify, he was allowed to proceed to wands the Ice factory. Then Ershed Ali Sikder and his companies attracted Monir. Ershed Ali Sikder with is cut rifle blow on the head of Monir who fell down on the innocent. He then order to finish him. Monir was seriously grievous injuries on his person. When lie confirm that Monir is dead than he assailed Khaled with shabul hammer, parson etc. Condemned prisoner Enshed Ali Sikder danced on Khaled’s chest. Khaled was taken to KhulnaSadarHospital where the succumbed to his in Junes.
The Additional session Judge, 1st court of Khulna on consideration of the evidcnce and materials on reeord the facts and circumstance of the case convicted and sentenced Ershed Ali Sikder death penalty. The learned court also sentenced two others to death sentence two others to imprisonment for life and other accused 7 years rigorous imprisonment and to a fine take 5000/- and for default to out of 1 years rigorous as punishment. The petitioner Earshed Ali Sikder. then leave to Appeal In the High Court Division. But the high court division on correct consideration of the evidence of prosecution witness and all other materials on record reject the leave to Appeal.
Rofiqul Islam Mollah Vs. State
Salma Begum, daughter of Pachu Sharif, given in marriage with sole accused Rafiqul Islam Mollah. Pachu Sharif received an information that his daughter had died in the house of his son-in-law in the night. He went there and saw the dead body of his daughter lying on the floor of the verandah of the dwelling house of the accused. He then went to Gopalgonj Police station and made statement to the above effect. The charge officer of Thana went to the place of occurrence and prepared inquest on the dead body of victim of Salma Begum and sent the same to morgue for pos-mortem examination. On receipt of the post-mortem report, the aforesaid charge officer entrusted SI Md. Mojibur Rahman with investigation. The investigation officer investigate in to the cash and submitted Charge-Sheet against Md. Rafiqul Islam Mollah husband of victim Salma Begum.
The Additional session Judge of Gopalgonj on consideration of the evidence and malenals on record and the facts and circumstance of the case convicted and sentence Rafiqual Islam Mollah under section 302 of the penal code death penalty. Now the question remains, whether the learned Additional Sessions Judge was legally justified in inflicting the sentence of death instead of sentence of imprisonment for life on the accused. The fact of the case does not show that the accused used any heavy or sharp cutting or lethal weapon or even acted with cruelty in committing murder of the victim. There is also nothing on record that the murder was preplanned and cold blooded. In such view of the matter we hold that it will meet the ends of justice if the sentence of death inflicted upon the condemned accused is reduced to imprisonment for life.
In the result, the death reference Is rejected and the accused appellant is sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life for the offence under section 302 of the Penal Code.
Contemporary use of death penalty-global distribution:
The Columbia Encyclopedia, in its 2008 sixth edition, under the heading titled “Capital Punishment,” offered the following:
“Capital punishment: Imposition of a penalty of death by the state. Capital punishment was widely applied in ancient times; it can be found (c.1750 BC) in the Code of Hammurabi. From the fall of Rome to the beginnings of the modern era, capital punishment was practiced throughout Western Europe…
Some of the first countries to abolish capital punishment included Venezuela (1863), San Marino (1865), and Costa Rica (1877). As of 2004, 81 countries had entirely abolished the death penalty, including the members of the European Union. Some other countries retained capital punishment only for treason and war crimes, while in others, death remained a penalty at law, though in practice there had not been any executions for decades.
Since the 1970s almost all capital sentences in the United States have been imposed for homicide. Today, 36 states and the federal government have reinstituted the death penalty… some 75% of executions now employ lethal injection. The gas chamber, hanging, the firing squad, and, most commonly, the electric chair are still used in some states… In 2002 the Court ruled that the death penalty must be imposed through a finding of a jury and not a judge.”
Capital punishment has been used in almost every part of the globe, but in the last few decades many countries have abolished it. Amnesty International classifies countries into four categories:
- 59 countries maintain the death penalty in both law and practice. (Also lists the Palestinian Authority)
- 91 have abolished it. (Also lists the Cook Islands & Niue)
- 9 retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
- 35 permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years.
Additionally, five countries execute child offenders. In some countries the practice of extrajudicial execution sporadically or systematically outside their own formal legal frameworks occurs. This list below includes several unrecognized states with de facto control over their territory and dependent territories, neither of which are included in the above numbers, except as noted
Global distribution of death penalty:
Use of the death penalty around the world (as of Sep. 2007).
Abolished for all offenses (90) Abolished for all offenses except under special circumstances (11) Retains, though not used for at least 10 years (32) Retains death penalty (64).
Death Penalty Abolished Countries
countries that have abolished the death sentence for all crimes:
|Ireland, Republic of||1990|
|Macedonia, FormerYugoslavRepublic of||N/A|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||1990|
|Serbia and Montenegro||2002|
|N/A = not available.1. The death penalty was abolished in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in 1990. On January 1, 1993 the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic divided into two states, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. The last execution in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic was in 1988.2. The death penalty was abolished in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1949 and in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1987. The last execution in the FRG was in 1949; the date of the last execution in the GDR is not known. The FRG and the GDR were unified in October 1990.|
|Source: Amnesty International.|
MOST EXECUTIONS CARRIED OUT IN 2007
|China||(at least 1,010 but sources suggest the real tally is between 7,500 and 8,000)|
|Iraq||at least 65|
|Sudan||at least 65|
MOST EXECUTION CARRIED OUT IN 2008
|China||470+ (other sources est. 5,000)1|
|1.Based on a combination of published and anecdotal evidence, Dui Hua foundation suggests the real tally in China may be as high as 5,000.|
MOST EXECUTION CARRIED OUT IN 2009
The following table shows the approximate number of executions in some other countries in the rest of the world that have been recorded in the year 2009.
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia|
NUMBER OF EXECUTIONS, BANGLADESH, 2005-2010
Year Executions Convictions
Year Executions Convictions
Year Executions Convictions
*AI = Amnesty International; ** HOC = Hands off Cain.
– = no statistics available.
SUPPORT FOR THE DEATH PENALTY: U.S., BRITAIN, CANADA
Not everyone believes in the Old Testament notion of “an eye for an eye.” Americans may be more likely than those in some other developed nations may be to favor that type of reciprocal justice; according to Gallup Polls conducted late last year in three countries*, 64% of Americans favor the death penalty for a person convicted of murder. Canadians are about evenly split on the subject, with 48% in favor of the death penalty and 49% opposed. In Great Britain, a slim majority supports the death penalty, with 55% in favor and 41% opposed.
The governments of both Great Britain and Canada abolished the death penalty for murder some time ago, in 1965 and in 1976, respectively. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down state death penalty laws in 1972 and did not reinstate the punishment again until 1976. The first execution after the moratorium took place in January 1977, when Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah. Currently, capital punishment is legal in 38 U.S. states.
Arguments in favor of Death Penalty:
The death penalty gives conclusion: Some family members of crime victims may take years or decades to recover from the shock and loss of a loved one. Some may never recover. One of the things that helps hasten this recovery is to achieve some kind of closure. Life in prison just means the criminal is still around to haunt the victim. A death sentence brings finality to a horrible chapter in the lives of these family members.
It creates another form of crime deterrent. Crime would run rampant as never before if there wasn’t some way to deter people from committing the acts. Prison time is an effective deterrent, but with some people, more is needed. Prosecutors should have the option of using a variety of punishments in order to minimize crime.
Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims. It’s time we put the emphasis of our criminal justice system back on protecting the victim rather than the accused. Remember, a person who’s on death row has almost always committed crimes before this. A long line of victims have been waiting for justice. We need justice for current and past victims.
Modern crime scene science can now effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty: One of the biggest arguments against the death penalty is the possibility of error. Sure, we can never completely eliminate all uncertainty, but nowadays, it’s about as close as you can get. DNA testing is over 99 percent effective. And even if DNA testing and other such scientific methods didn’t exist, the trial and appeals process is so thorough it’s next to impossible to convict an innocent person. Remember, a jury of 12 members must unanimously decide there’s not even a reasonable doubt the person is guilty. The number of innocent people that might somehow be convicted is no greater than the number of innocent victims of the murderers who are set free.
Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill. Perhaps the biggest reason to keep the death penalty is to prevent the crime from happening again. The parole system nowadays is a joke. Even if a criminal is sentenced to life without possibility of parole, he still has a chance to kill while in prison, or even worse, escape and go on a crime/murder spree.
It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system. Prisons across the country face the problem of too many prisoners and not enough space & resources. Each additional prisoner requires a portion of a cell, food, clothing, extra guard time, and so on. When you eliminate the death penalty as an option, it means that prisoner must be housed for life. Thus, it only adds to the problem of an overcrowded prison system.
It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system. The number of criminal cases that are plea bargained can be as high as 80 or 90 percent of cases. With the time, cost, and personnel requirements of a criminal case, there really isn’t much of a choice. The vast majority of people that are arraigned are in fact guilty of the crime they are accused. Even if you believe a defendant only deserves life in prison, without the threat of a death sentence, there may be no way to get him to plead guilty and accept the sentence. If a case goes to trial, in addition to the enormous cost, you run the chance that you may lose the case, meaning a violent criminal gets off scot free. The existence of the death penalty gives prosecutors much more flexibility and power to ensure just punishments.
Arguments against Death Penalty:
Everyone thinks human life is valuable. Some of those against death penalty believe that human life is so valuable that even the worst murderers should not be deprived of the value of their lives.
They believe that the value of the offender’s life cannot be destroyed by the offender’s bad conduct – even if they have killed someone.
Some abolitionists don’t go that far. They say that life should be preserved unless there is a very good reason not to, and that those who are in favor of death penalty are the ones who have to justify their position.
Denial of basic right – According to Humans Right Association capital punishment overrules our most basic human right – the right to life. Human life has fundamental value. The blessedness of human life is denied by the death penalty. Live is precious. This is very similar to the ‘value of life’ argument, but approached from the perspective of human rights. Death penalty is clearly violated of Article 3 & Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its also violates the “natural rights” laid by 17th centaury English philosopher John Locke.
The possibility of error –The most common and most cogent argument against capital punishment is that sooner or later, innocent people will get killed, because of mistakes or flaws in the justice system. Later investigations revealed many convicted individuals innocent which got death penalty in the past, and have been pardoned.
Unfair Judgment – In many death penalty cases the defendants remain poorly represented or not represented at all because of their poverty, which cause greater injustice. It also notice a kind of racial discrimination this happens due to varied reasons. Because the poor can offer very low compensation the defense lawyers are often incompetent, resulting in losing the case. Due to prejudice and bias, poor people, and people from minority sections become soft target for such capital punishments, as unrestricted discretion has offered to District attorney. If any one wants to appeal then it becomes a burdensome process for him often resulting in denial of justice.
Lack of Deterrence – The purpose of any punishment should be deterrence from repeating the same act. But, according to the statistics available, the death penalty has not been effective in controlling the homicide rate. The studies have revealed the shocking truth that executions actually increase the murder rate. That means the capital punishment does not deter violent crime. According to a New York Times study, the last 20 years witnessed 48% homicide rate in states with the implementation of capital punishment compared to 23% in the states without capital punishment.
Justifying circumstances – Sometimes, persons suffering from emotional trauma, abandonment, violence, neglect or destructive social environment commit such heinous crimes. These mitigating situations can have devastating effect on their humanity. So, it is unfair to hold them fully responsible for their crimes. It is our communal responsibility to show some sympathy to some extent. It’s generally accepted that people should not be punished for their actions unless they have a guilty mind – which requires them to know what they are doing and that it’s wrong.
Effects on society – Capital Punishment is itself a premeditated murder. This is unacceptable even it is inflicted by state authority as it lowers the value of life. In fact, such act can only brutalize the society. “Revenge is essential” can become a society attitude. By witnessing such acts, our own mental makeup starts believing that violence is necessary to curb the wrongdoings. By giving capital punishment, the family of the victim is permanently traumatized and victimized. They are often punished by their loved ones without their fault, even though they are innocent.
Financial costs to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life. Most people don’t realize that carrying out one death sentence costs 2-5 times more than keeping that same criminal in prison for the rest of his life. It has to do with the endless appeals, additional required procedures, and legal wrangling that drag the process out. It’s not unusual for a prisoner to be on death row for 15-20 years. Judges, attorneys, court reporters, clerks, and court facilities all require a substantial investment by the taxpayers.
Non acceptable by the society: Actually, in a civilized society and for the civilized people this is not acceptable. When I was asked some person about this, maximum person said this, is not good for our society, which means, this is not acceptable by the society. When there are some fundamental rights, and there is a law, which is violating those rights, that law is not acceptable by the society. If in general sense we consider that the death penalty is violating the fundamental rights of the people then death penalty is not acceptable by the society.
In 1972, the Supreme Court declared that under then existing laws “the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty … constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.” (Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S.238) The majority of the Court concentrated its objections on the way death-penalty laws had been applied, finding the result so “harsh, freakish, and arbitrary” as to be constitutionally unacceptable. Making the nationwide impact of its decision unmistakable, the Court summarily reversed death sentences in the many cases then before it, which involved a wide range of state statutes, crimes, and factual situations.
But within four years after the Furman decision, more than 600 persons had been sentenced to death under new capital-punishment statutes that provided guidance for the jury’s sentencing discretion. These statutes typically require a bifurcated (two-stage) trial procedure, in which the jury first determines guilt or innocence and then chooses imprisonment or death in the light of aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
In July 1976, the Supreme Court moved in the opposite direction, holding that “the punishment of death does not invariably violate the Constitution.” The Court ruled that these new statutes contained “objective standards to guide, regularize, and make rationally reviewable the process for imposing the sentence of death.” (Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S.153) Thus the states as well as Congress have had for some years constitutionally valid statutory models for death-penalty laws, and more than three dozen state legislatures have enacted death penalty statutes patterned after those the Court upheld in Gregg. In recent years, Congress has enacted death penalty statutes for peacetime espionage by military personnel and for drug-related murders.
Executions resumed in 1977, and by the early 1990s nearly three thousand persons were under sentence of death and more than 180 had been executed.
Despite the Supreme Court’s 1976 ruling in Gregg v. Georgia, the ACLU continues to oppose capital punishment on moral and practical, as well as on constitutional, grounds:
- Capital punishment is cruel and unusual. It is a relic of the earliest days of penology, when slavery, branding, and other corporal punishments were commonplace. Like those other barbaric practices, executions have no place in a civilized society.
- Opposition to the death penalty does not arise from misplaced sympathy for convicted murderers. On the contrary, murder demonstrates a lack of respect for human life. For this very reason, murder is abhorrent, and any policy of state-authorized killings is immoral.
- Capital punishment denies due process of law. Its imposition is arbitrary and irrevocable. It forever deprives an individual of benefits of new evidence or new law that might warrant the reversal of a conviction or the setting aside of a death sentence.
- The death penalty violates the constitutional guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. It is applied randomly at best and discriminatorily at worst. It is imposed disproportionately upon those whose victims are white, on offenders who are people of color, and on those who are themselves poor and uneducated.
- The defects in death-penalty laws, conceded by the Supreme Court in the early 1970s, have not been appreciably altered by the shift from unfettered discretion to “guided discretion.” These changes in death sentencing have proved to be largely cosmetic. They merely mask the impermissible arbitrariness of a process that results in an execution.
- Executions give society the unmistakable message that human life no longer deserves respect when it is useful to take it and that homicide is legitimate when deemed justified by pragmatic concerns.
- Reliance on the death penalty obscures the true causes of crime and distracts attention from the social measures that effectively contribute to its control. Politicians who preach the desirability of executions as a weapon of crime control deceive the public and mask their own failure to support anti-crime measures that will really work.
- Capital punishment wastes resources. It squanders the time and energy of courts, prosecuting attorneys, defense counsel, juries, and courtroom and correctional personnel. It unduly burdens the system of criminal justice, and it is therefore counterproductive as an instrument for society’s control of violent crime. It epitomizes the tragic inefficacy and brutality of the resort to violence rather than reason for the solution of difficult social problems.
- A decent and humane society does not deliberately kill human beings. An execution is a dramatic, public spectacle of official, violent homicide that teaches the permissibility of killing people to solve social problems — the worst possible example to s et for society. In this century, governments have too often attempted to justify their lethal fury by the benefits such killing would bring to the rest Or society. The bloodshed is real and deeply destructive of the common decency of the community; the benefits are illusory.
An issue that has continually created tension in today’s society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment. Whenever the word “death penalty” comes up, extremists from both sides start yelling out their arguments. One side says deterrence, the other side says there’s a potential of executing an innocent man; one says justice, retribution, and punishment; the other side says execution is murder. Crime is an evident part of society, and everyone is aware that something must be done about it. Most people know the threat of crime to their lives, but the question lies in the methods and action in which it should be dealt with. There is debate over the morals and effectiveness of such a harsh sentence. The punishment for murder is getting to be shorter and shorter. Some case capital punishment has proven to have good benefits upon the country in determining the consequences that criminals deserve. This is needed to ensure the safety and moral values of society. If this is the case, there is no need for us to consider the expenses involved in the death penalty. Certainly human lives are more important, for it may easily be yours. We should not abolish capital punishment, but hold our country accountable for properly exercising the death penalty upon that issue which is no alternative way to punishing & who deserve it most. Given the benefits of capital punishment, it is hard to imagine why anyone would be against it, but there are several arguments against the death sentence that need to be addressed. Opponents of the death penalty point out that there is a possibility of wrongly executing an innocent man. Of course, there is a possibility of wrongly sending an innocent man to prison, or wrongly fining an innocent man, but they contend that because of the finality and severity of the death penalty, the consequences of wrongly executing an innocent person are much more wrong. The execution of an innocent man is a strong enough argument to abolish the death penalty.
All the discussion on above that some points are so strong in favor of Death Penalty and some are strongly opposed it. The debate about capital punishment, colloquially known as the death penalty, is highly controversial. This debate is present in countries with a decent freedom of speech, where the death penalty is abolished or used only for convicted murderers.
Opponents argue that it leads to miscarriages of justice, that it violates the criminal’s right to life, that the life imprisonment without parole works as a deterrent for murder, and moreover, that the death penalty is ineffective because it does not reduce the number of crimes.
These arguments are opposed to the principle of retribution — “an eye for an eye”. It also opposes the argument that sanctity life is affirmed by the death penalty, which puts to death those who commit murder. On a more practical point on view, the main question is: “Are death penalty effective deterrence for murder and other brutal crimes? What are the advantages and drawbacks of each compared to the other?”
When we thought about the alternative punishment for death penalty then first we thought transportation for life as a punishment. It was also included in our Penal Code but at one time it’s abolished. I also think transportation for life time is not an appropriate punishment. For my thinking have also reason which is execution of this punishment is very expensive and developing country like Bangladesh can’t afford this 100%. On the other hand all other alternative free form this problem and I think my solution also productive for the country. I believe that we should not necessarily abolish the death penalty completely, just make it voluntary. When a criminal commits a terrible, violent offense, give the person the option of life in prison without parole or death. Since we all know that life imprisonment can be “cruel and unusual punishment” as well, let the accused choose how he’d like to spend the rest of his life. If he’d truly rather die than spend his whole life in jail, I find nothing wrong then in using the death penalty.
While the inmate is in jail, I believe he should be put to some kind of work for the better of society – with all his earnings going to the family of the victim. This alternative would help most if the victim was the sole provider of income for that family. Just killing the accused would not bring peace or better anybody, it would just bring more pain and vengeance. However, if the accused is put to work, then the family of the victim will at least receive a little money to help them get through their hard times, and move on with life.
Lastly, we should promote reform in a bias-ridden judicial system. We can do this in two ways. First, make qualified and experienced defense available to all, regardless of race or financial standing.
Morally, socially and economically, the death penalty is a bad public policy. The following may be the better options to choose as a viable alternative to the death penalty:
Persons convicted of capital murder should serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before the possibility of consideration for parole. Please note: consideration for parole in no way suggests an inmate will receive parole. Parole boards must abide by strict but fair standards in deciding who should receive parole. The abolition of parole endangers prison workers.
- In certain cases, imprisonment should be for life, with no possibility of parole – ever.
- While in prison, prisoners who are physically and mentally able should work in jobs which are not slave-like and allow for some dignity and purpose of life for the inmate. Such work situations create safer conditions for guards and others who work in prisons.
A portion of the prisoners’ earnings should go to pay for their imprisonment, and a portion should go into a fund for the victims of violent crime and their survivors. This would allow for a restitution fund for social, psychological and religious help for victims and survivor families. Such funds could also provide financial help for families which have lost a wage earner to murder.
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7. N.V. Paranjape. ‘CriminologyPenology’, 13′ ed. (Allahabad: Central Law Publication.2009.).
8. W. Schabas. ‘The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law ‘, 2′1‘1 ed, (Cambridge University Press. 1997).
9. George B. Void. ‘Theoretical Criminology’, 4th ed. (New York; Oxford University VX Press. 1988)
10. Fraklin E Zimrina. ‘The Contradiction of American Capital Punishment’, Is1 ed., (USA: OxfordUniversity Press, 2004)
- 11. Principal Md. Altaf Hossen, Dondobidhi (Penal Code, 1860) Dhaka, City Law Books Publication, Fifth edition 2005, pp. 98, 106, 161-162, 239, 241, 277, 308.
- Sue Titus Reid, Crime & Criminology, McGraw Hill Higher Education Group, Inc, Eighth edition, FloridaStateUniversity.
13. Pojman, Louis P., and Jeffrey Reiman. (1998). The Death Penalty: For and Against.Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
14. Sorrel, Tom. (1987). Moral Theory and Capital Punishment.Oxford: Blackwell.
15. Kant, Immanuel. (1887). The Metaphysics of Morals.Edinburgh: T & T Clark.
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_debate (Accessed on December 2009)
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment#Global_distribution (Accessed on November 2009)
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_methods_of_capital_punishment (Accessed on December 2009)
4. http://www.thedailystar.net/law/2008/01/04/index.htm (Accessed on December 2009)
5.http://www.handsoffcain.info/archivio_news/200510.php?iddocumento=7402396&mover=1 (Accessed on December 2009)
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_methods_of_capital_punishment (Accessed on December 2009)
8. Japan hangs two more on death row (see also paragraph 11) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment (Accessed on December 2009)
9. Moses Maimonides, The Commandments, Neg. Comm. 290, at 269–271 (Charles B. Chavel trans., 1967). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment
10. Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 2a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment (Accessed on December 2009)
11. What The Christian Scriptures Say About The Death Penalty – Capital Punishmen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment (Accessed on December 2009)
12. http://www.cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/trent/tcomm05.htm (Accessed on December 2009)
13. http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm (Accessed on December 2009)
14. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12565a.htm (Accessed on December 2009)
15. hup: www.echeat.com/essny.php?t^25364
16. htlp:.- Snni-.kotv.comne^vsf? 105778
17. http:/ww’w.pbs.org wgbh’pages/frontline/shows/eyecution/readings/history.html