Moving Away from the Death Penalty

Written by Alyssa Strasser

 Date & Location: June 28, 2013,

Conference Room 3

Speakers: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,

Mr. Damien Echols, Mr.Stephen Braga.

Attendees:  Gregory Swistel, Nora Crossnohere, Marli Kasdan, Imam Yashruti, Mary C.Y. Lam, Candace K.T. Tang, Janice H.Y. Wong, Sunny T.C. Hor

How can the death penalty be a stance to detriment people from killing, by killing someone?

Today at the United Nations an inspirational and reaching panel was held about “Moving Away from the Death Penalty”. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged the United Nations to abolish the death penalty, ““The taking of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict on another, even when backed by legal process.” As of now about 150 of the UN’s 193 Member States have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it.

Today’s forum featured a famous case, “West of Memphis” were three teenagers were wrongly convicted of killing three young boys, one of which, Damien Echols spoke of his episode of being under the death penalty for 18 years. Mr.Echols was accused of killing the three boys as part of a satanic ritual at 18 years old. The evidence was a confession of a mentally handicapped child, the music he listened to, and the books he read. Mr.Echols explained that the only reason that he was not killed earlier was because the media had gotten wind of his story, and that without the time and the contributions of the public he would have been subjected immediately to the death penalty.

Mr. Stephen Braga, Echols’ recent defense attorney elucidated the issues of the court room the first being that Echols’ public defender was a good friend of the judge so it was easy for Echol to be committed and also that there was a extreme pressure from the public to find the killer of the three boys.

There are too many errors in the justice system; the reality is that the prevailing law in too many countries does not require the level of protection needed in a criminal case. Unless a murder is caught in the act there is never direct evidence. “Direct evidence: direct from where?” Courts relay on confessions that are normally obtained from hours of interrogation and torture. The inevitable risk of error makes death penalties inhumane; the only option is not to use capital punishment.

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