The discussion regarding the cancellation of the death penalty split Russian society. Some people believe that the death penalty should be applied, but on extreme occasions only. Others say that the death penalty should be cancelled and lifetime imprisonment introduced instead. It is difficult to say what is more humane, but we can only say that lifetime imprisonment in the Russian jails is much more horrible than a quick death.
The death penalty was cancelled in 72 countries by the end of 1995, whereas it was preserved in 90 countries. According to information from the UN, 25 countries have cancelled the death penalty during the period of 1989–1995. This kind of punishment can be applied in several countries only during times of war, for example in Argentina, Brazil, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Canada, Cyprus, Mexico, Nepal, and others.
Thirty countries and territories have preserved the death penalty, but they have not used it over the last ten years or more: Belgium, Chile, Congo, Guatemala, and Turkey. The death penalty is not used in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, and Great Britain.
Each country had its own way for the cancellation of the death penalty. For example it was cancelled, retrieved, and then cancelled again in Italy. England cancelled it in 1965 as an experiment, for the period of five years, but then it was cancelled again, for good.
Ireland, Hungary, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Georgia god rid of the death penalty in the 1990s. Bulgaria introduced a death penalty moratorium in 1993, then there was Poland; Moldavia and Italy followed them in 1994; and South Africa, Spain, in 1995.
Estonia announced its cancellation of the death penalty at the beginning of 1997; Lithuania and Latvia set moratoriums in 1996. Latvia, Poland, and Lithuania are countries in which the death penalty is expected to be cancelled in the nearest future.
The republics of the former Soviet Union, former socialist countries, several Central Asian states, a group of African countries, all the Arabian countries, as well as 38 states of the USA, are the places that have preserved capital punishment.
The death penalty was cancelled for the first time in history in the USA, Michigan, in 1846. Nevertheless, the majority of America’s states did not cancel it. Death sentences are handed down most often in the southern states of America: Florida, Georgia, and Texas, presumably against blacks.
Although the number of the countries that are refusing the death penalty are growing, there is an opposite trend in some countries. Over 50 states expanded the list of the crimes that may entail the application of the death penalty. This punishment was retrieved in two American states.
Pursuant to the information from the international pardon committee, 87% of all executions of the world were in China, Iran, and Nigeria in 1995. In China, they reportedly kill from three to ten thousand people annually. The former Soviet Union republic of Kazakhstan took the fourth position of the number of the executed people in the world in 1996 after China, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. One hundred and twenty-three people were killed in the republic of Turkmenistan in 1996 for drug distribution.
The abandonment capital punishment is not a condition to join the Council of Europe, or the European Convention for protection of human rights. If it is so, then why did Russia introduce the moratorium for the death penalty, in contrast to the opinion of the majority of the Russian population that thinks that the capital punishment is necessary on the extreme occasions?
Chechen terrorist Salman Raduyev said after the sentenced had been handed down on him, that he was not going to spend much time in jail – just a couple of years. These were the words from the terrorists who killed hundreds of people. Would he say such things if he knew that he would be executed? Of course, not.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov