The latest edition of The Economist reported this shocking fact based on Amnesty international study on capital punishment: our civilized governments have executed close to 2400 people in the last one year alone; all in the form of capital punishment. Over 70% of these numbers are coming from China. Perhaps more revealing is the fact that Saudi Arabia and Iran took the percentage share (per population) when it comes to executing supreme order, all to its people.
Now, there may be a stronger story to defend these killings, because some of those criminals may indeed have done heinous crimes. But that, simply cannot justify capital punishment, Can it? To me, killing a human on any count is unjustified. By doing so, we are exhibiting more insanity. Why killing? We could rather put them in jail and let them be forced to work extra hard and learn the hardship of life.
The other day, couple of my Iranian friends and I were discussing about the sort of criminal law practiced in our respective countries (here India as in my case and Iran for them). One of them asked me about the kind of punishments that would be given for instance to a guy who accidentally injures someone on the road. I had to tell him, in India, a capital punishment is usually given only in rarest or rare crimes. Even then, there would be widespread opposition to the hanging. On the other hand, I was shocked to hear that in Iran, some crimes are dealt with a ‘blood for blood’ response. Apparently in Iran, for a recent case wherein a husband poured acid to permanently disable his wife’s eyes, the judge ruled a replica punishment so that the culprit get to feel the pain and agony that his victim had gone through. To me, this sounded too uncivilized a punishment, even though the victim deserve no mercy. He surely does not deserve rights for any decent public life for the heinous crime he carried out. The best way to punish such barbaric people is to put them through the most rigorous hardship over a prolonged period. That way, they get to experience the bitterness of life. Killing someone to compensate the loss of innocent people is simply no justification: At least I find no solace to accept it as a civilized way of dealing crime and criminals.
In a way, by killing the criminals we are giving an easy escape to those in-humans.