Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, [email protected]
(Hartford, Ct.) – Amnesty International USA today applauded Governor Dannel P. Malloy for signing into law SB280, which repeals the death penalty in Connecticut for all future cases. The organization urged lawmakers considering repeal in other states to follow Connecticut’s example and vote to reject the “ultimate” human rights violation.
Connecticut joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia, all of which now ban capital punishment.
“Lawmakers in Connecticut finally saw the death penalty for what it is – a barbaric and irreversible punishment that does nothing to stop crime or support its victims,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International USA. “And no group helped them see these facts more clearly than the families of murder victims. Nearly 200 of these courageous individuals stood up to say that countering one murder with a state-sanctioned killing would only prolong and deepen their anguish. They made the difference in Connecticut. We are very proud to stand with these families today to celebrate an historic step forward for human rights.”
Five states have abolished the death penalty in the last five years, and 800,000 voters in California have endorsed a ballot initiative, which, if successful this November, would repeal capital punishment in the nation’s largest state. A majority exists in the Maryland State Legislature to repeal the death penalty and one legislative chamber in both Colorado and Montana have passed bills to repeal capital punishment in recent years. In Oregon, the governor has declared a moratorium on all executions.
Two-thirds of all nations (141) have rejected the death penalty. Amnesty International’s 2012 annual global death penalty survey placed the United States among the top five countries that continue to execute prisoners, with China, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia
The shift in U.S. public opinion on the death penalty is reflected in opinion polls and in jury rooms. The latest Gallup poll shows public support for the death penalty at its lowest since 1972, and death sentences have plummeted nationwide over the past decade.
Laura Moye, director of Amnesty International USA’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign, said: “Not only is the death penalty the ultimate human rights violation, but it is bad public policy. We are better off redirecting public funds and energy to solving the vast number of cold cases and providing greater support to the victims of violent crime, rather than wasting funds on maintaining this enormously expensive and inhuman practice.”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.