Even if there are no doubts about guilt (as there was in the case with Troy Davis, and as there is in the case with Reggie Clemons), even if there are no horrifying mitigating circumstances (like the ones that led Ohio’s Governor John Kacich to commute another death sentence), and even if the crime is particularly heinous (as was the case with the execution last week of Lawrence Brewer in Texas) the deliberate putting to death of a human being is not justice and is a fundamental violation of basic human rights.
It is also a power that no government, and no fallible, human-being-operated justice system should be trusted with.
The same night that Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer were put to death in the USA, a 17-year-old was hanged in Iran. Two days earlier, a Sudanese man in Saudi Arabia was publicly beheaded for the crime of “sorcery”. The day after Troy Davis’ execution, Alabama lethally injected Derrick Mason, its 5th execution of the year. Tomorrow, Florida is scheduled to execute Manuel Valle, who has been on death row for 33 years and has received no meaningful clemency process.
The disturbing facts and stomach-churning drama surrounding Troy Davis’ case resulted in a remarkable amount of attention. But all these executions are wrong. The death penalty is wrong. It must be abolished.