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Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    March 26, 2014
    GLOBAL FIGURES

    At least 778 people were executed in 22 countries in 2013. In 2012, Amnesty International reported at least 682 executions in 21 countries worldwide.

    Most executions took place in China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, USA and Somalia – in that order.

    China executed more people than the rest of the world put together – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as data is considered a state secret, and the figure of 778 excludes the thousands of executions carried out in China.

    There were stark rises in executions in Iran and Iraq. Iraq put at least 169 people to death, a 30% increase on 2012 (129). In Iran, officially acknowledged executions rose to at least 369 in 2013 – from at least 314 in 2012. But credible sources reported at least another 335 executions, bringing 2013’s total to at least 704.

    March 26, 2014

    In advance of the release of our 2014 Global Death Penalty Report tomorrow, here are 5 of the most common misconceptions about the death penalty.

    MYTH #1

    The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safer.

    FACT
    There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.  

    More than three decades after abolishing the death penalty, Canada’s murder rate remains over one third lower than it was in 1976.

    A 35-year study compared murder rates between Hong Kong, where there is no death penalty, and Singapore, which has a similar size population and executed regularly. The death penalty had little impact on crime rates.

    MYTH #2
    The threat of execution is an effective strategy in preventing terrorist attacks.

    FACT
    The prospect of execution is unlikely to act as a deterrent to people prepared to kill and injure for the sake of a political or other ideology.

    October 10, 2013

    By Aubrey Harris, Coordinator for the Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

    Today, 10 October, is World Day Against the Death Penalty. This year abolitionist groups from around the world are focussed on efforts to abolish the death penalty in the Caribbean. Amnesty International released a report today also detailing one of the biggest myths of death penalty supporters - the claim of deterrence.

    In Canada though we have another special reason to celebrate this October 10th. It is the first October 10th in five years in which Canadian citizen Hamid Ghassemi-Shall is not facing possible execution.

    July 15, 2013
    Slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin

    by Aubrey Harris, Coordinator, Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

    The recent acquittal of George Zimmerman in Florida has understandably upset many. The facts as known broadly would to most people seem to indicate that the acquittal or at the very least the law, is unjust.

    Certainly the "Stand Your Ground" law, which takes self-defence to a confusing extreme (pre-emptive strike?), has resulted in many confusing verdicts (see this good analysis from the Tampa Bay Times). It pales in comparison to two other, extremely troubling aspects of Florida's legal system:

    Of states with the death penalty, Florida has the highest number by far of wrongful conviction in capital cases in the USA. Florida recently signed into law further restrictions on the right to appeal in capital cases 

    That means, despite the worst record on convicting the right person, Florida is accelerating the process to kill those people who may well be innocent.

    April 09, 2013

    By Aubrey Harris, Coordinator for the Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

    My Neighbour: Hamid Ghassemi-Shall

    I live in Toronto's east end, a neighbourhood known as Leslieville. It's between The Beach and Riverdale (where Degrassi was set). My neighbourhood is typically urban. There are a lot of streetcars, buses and older houses. The local elementary school is old enough to have an honour roll of former students who paid with their lives during the Great War and World War II. I didn't grow up here (I grew up in London, ON) - but I quite like this neighbourhood - and I've lived in a few around Toronto.

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