Monday, March 30, 2009

Death Penalty Update

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. The big news is of course the abolition of the Death Penalty in New Mexico. Elsewhere on the abolition front, Colorado looks as if it’s making some progress toward abolition. Abolition attempts in Maryland and Kansas appear to have been derailed and an attempt in Utah was flat out defeated.

There have been 20 executions in the first three months of 2009. Twelve of these executions have been in Texas and all have been in the South. This brings the total number of executions in the U.S. since the reinstatement of the Death Penalty to 1,156, 435 of which have been in Texas, and 956 of which have been in the South.

According to Amnesty International, the U.S. made the top six list in executions again in 2008. Get a load of the company we’re keeping.

#1 China - 1,718
#2 Iran – 346
#3 Saudi Arabia – 102
#4 U.S. – 37
#5 Pakistan – 36
#6 Iraq – 34

The only saving grace is while we can be pretty sure of the number of executions in the U.S., in the other top six Amnesty International suspects the number is actually higher and in some cases, much higher.

You will excuse me if I have a serious problem being in a list with nations like China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iraq.

Of course it could always be worse. AI notes that in 2008 a new law was passed in Iran that allows the application of the death penalty against people convicted of illegal audiovisual activities (pornography) and that there is a proposed law prescribing the death penalty for apostasy, heresy and witchcraft and for certain internet-related crimes that “promote corruption and apostasy” being drafted.

Witchcraft? WITCHCRAFT? They believe in Witchcraft? Imagine getting the death penalty for the generation and/or viewing of dirty pictures? What planet, or more to the point perhaps, what century, are these people from?

Now explain to me again how religion is a good thing? I'm sure it's not the secular folks that are worried about things like pornography, heresy and apostacy. Take a good look at Iran because that's what the Religious Right would like to move the U.S. towards.

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