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Death Penalty

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Admin Singh, Oct 5, 2009.

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  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    The death penalty is a mystery in our midst. Europe has done away with it, and that does not seem to have hurt the continent. The United States is retentionist, and the execution of under-aged, and mentally handicapped, convicts has given it a reputation that is not worth envying. Some may have heard of the ‘Executioner’s Current’, where, fighting a corporate battle with Westinghouse, Edison is said to have tried to get Westinghouse’s Alternating Current to be used for the electric chair so that that would be dubbed the ‘killer current’, leaving virtue with Edison’s Direct Current. Such tales that should provide us caution abound. Yet, the logic, and politics, of the death penalty is heavily under-researched, and so remains poorly understood, in the part of the world that we inhabit.
    Given the extraordinary power that this punishment vests in the state, this incurious condition is not quite excusable; yet, it is a fact. This tremendous effort to investigate the death penalty in Asia is an opportunity to fathom the meaning of punishment, interrogate the nature of state power, and understand how international law has developed, and why.



    The Indian reader may be somewhat disappointed at finding the Indian experience tucked away in an appendix.
    But the tracking of the deployment, and occasional disappearance, of the death penalty in other countries that are part of our extended land mass holds so many lessons in history, politics, and civil liberties that this seeming neglect may quickly cease to matter.
    A disturbing finding in this study that spans Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and China —along with capsules on North Korea, Hong Kong and Macao, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and India — is the extent to which the death penalty is really about state power over its people, and how marginally about deterrence from crime and criminality.
    When it appears that Japan ensures that “at least one execution occurs in every calendar year” so as to forestall the possibility of a moratorium, as also to avert “a sense of crisis” as the population on death row approaches a hundred, it should make us worry about what this penalty actually means. And,what if this country, Japan, retains this power to take life despite proven miscarriages of justice resulting from “false confessions and from prosecutors’ non-disclosure of evidence to the defence —problems that continue to plague Japanese criminal justice to this day”?




    The use of the death penalty against political adversaries has been a recognised tactic of states. In South Korea, for instance, eight men were executed in 1975 for treason, as socialists.
    In 2007, there was a retrial where the Seoul Central District Court acquitted all eight. (Of course, they were all dead by then; but their reputations were resurrected.) An earlier investigation had concluded that they had been framed on the orders of President Park, “at a time when activists and college students were demonstrating against his dictatorship.”
    There is a moratorium in place in South Korea, but this is an uneasy substitute for abolition, which surely should have been the consequence of this demonstrated abuse of the power to kill. In any event, this raises questions about how wrongful use and application of this penalty will even be acknowledged in countries where retrials are not known, and where verdicts are not revisited once they acquire ‘finality’.



    China and Taiwan have been difficult countries to research, and there is cause to thank the authors for having so painstakingly put together the jigsaw, even if woefully incomplete, in relation to them. These are deeply disturbing chapters to read, and should incite a reaction even amongst the most sanguine.
    There are times in the reading of the book when the neutral tone of the scholar comes in the way of challenging or lending meaning to questions about the death penalty; for instance, where the effect the rhetoric of terrorism has (or does not have) on the retention and use of the death penalty remains unspoken.
    It does seem, as it is depicted in the book, that we are passing through times when, for diverse reasons, the death penalty is on the wane. Alongside, and somewhat contradictorily, it would appear that too many states in Asia are clinging to the symbolic power it represents over the life of its people.
    This is as good a time as any to look for facts and understand the politics of power over life that is, in part, represented by the death penalty.
     
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  3. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    For countries like India which are facing enough terrorism death penalty is necessary
    We have already how IC 814 was hijacked for the realease of Maulana masood azhar
     
  4. Lee

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    I agree with the OP.

    The death penalty makes no sort of logical sense at all, it is more a tool of vengance than it is of justice.
    The killing of a person for the act of the killing of a person is the kind of circular argument that an enlighend socialty can well do without.

    Lets not make any mistakes here, it IS a measure of sociaty how they treat their criminals. So it is unethical, it makes no logical sense, and is an idea kept alive by no more than emotion.

    Unless of course somebody, anybody, would like to counter my statment with well thought out reasonable arguments? Any takers? Nope thought not.:D
     
  5. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Lee ji

    What kind of punishment terrorist like Kasab deserve?.Death penalty in India is Given in rarest of rare cases.For example if a person is serial killer and there is no chance That he /she could be reformed then what's the point keeping that person Alive.
     
  6. Lee

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    Thank you Kanwardeep Ji for showings us the validity of what I say.

    Words like 'deserve' need to be expunged from the vocabulary when we are talking about the rule of law. 'Pay for his crimes' seems a better way to see it, no emotional content there, and it makes clear that 'Justice' is not about 'vengance'.

    Why should we keep criminals alive? Let me turn that around and ask you why you feel we should kill them?
     
  7. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    I have one question, how can killing someone who has killed someone else makes our value system better? Aren't we doing the same as the criminal under the guise of some law?

    Are we holier than thou and mightier than the killer because we can murder the killer " legally"?

    It makes no sense and it is against Gurmat values.

    Tejwant Singh
     
  8. AusDesi

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    tbh, Death Penalty is pointless even in the case of terrorists. You kill one and a thousand will consider him a martyr.

    Best thing for the scum of the earth is 'never to be released'.
     
  9. Randip Singh

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    I don't think even Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the death penalty in his reign.
     
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  10. Lee

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    This is about the truth of it AusDesi Ji.

    If killing another human is to be illeagal then state sacntioned killing must be seen in the same light. To kill another for the act of murder, well that is just sinking down to the murders level isn't it.

    I can't quite understand how that escapes some people. I have heard all sorts of arguments defending teh dealth penaty including the frankly ridiculous one that by commiting murder you have made yourself (How I don't know, it was never expliend to me) somehow non human.

    A very tricky road to start walking down. If we can get away with (even once) this thought that in some instances we can downgrade a human being to something less than human, then we can excuse all sorts of deviant behavour towards each other.

    Instead of saying 'it's alright to mistreat him he is a murder' what others can this train of thought be turned towards? The Jews? Ahhhh but that has already been done.

    No this kind of rational is moraly incorrect, and we should see it as so, and work to rid ourselves of it.

    I say be a conciouse agent in the world, not a reactionary agent.
     
  11. AusDesi

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    hehe I agree with you. I think you're preaching to the wrong crowd.
     
  12. Lee

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    Hahah well there are more folx than just you here my friend. Ohh but I am glad that you agree.
     
  13. AusDesi

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    Yes but you refered it to me at the top lol. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
     
  14. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Lee ji

    You have not answered my question what type of punishment terrorist like Kasab deserve?

    Now let me answer your question.The aim of jail should be that a criminal should be reformed but If a criminal has done such a henious crime or there is no chance of him being reformed then what's the point keeping him alive.
    Also the biggest threat is that For a big criminal a plane could be hijacked or
    innocent people being kidnapped and in bargain his realease could be demanded by hijackers or kidnappers
     
  15. Lee

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    Ahhh then forgive me Kanwardeep ji.

    As I say I thing the word 'deserve' should not be used in this sort of context. What sort of punishment for his crimes should any criminal be forced to pay? Well internment for life seems to fit the crime of murder.

    So your answer to my question seesm to be twofold. The first is really another question and I'l get to that in a sec, the second is based around possible repercustions of keeping him alive.

    There is of course every chance that people may be hijacked in return for the release of prisoners, and history shows us that in the majority of such cases the actual release of the prisoner has not been granted. Which prompts the further question is is better to 'deal' with terrorist organisations or not?

    Why keep a murder alive in prision then. becuase to kill him means acting in exactly the same way, with exactly the same disregard for life that he has shown. Two wrongs do not make a right huh?

    We can kill the man, what does that say about us? How are we any differant from the killer himself? What moral law has he broken that that we are now just as guiklty of braking ourselves?

    You can look upon all of these questions as rhetorical, in fact I urge you to do so, but please do answer the next one.

    Why is the killing of one human by another seen in most countries as immoral?
     
  16. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    What is the meaning of internment of life according to you.In India after 14 years a convict can be pardonned by government and in most cases life convicts are pardonned after some time and I think it is best in case a person in not a deadly criminal because it gives him/her chance to start his/her life
    after getting the punishment.

    We have to think about repurcussions of keeping him alive.let me give you another repurcurssion Keeping alive a deadly criminal means lot of economic
    burden on Government.Most of Indian problems are related to economic problem.For many people life in jail is much better what other millions are getting.In jail a person get food clothes and even medical treatment and with corruption in India he could even arrange luxuries if possible.so when lots of innocents are suffering It is not at all logical neither it is practical to spend money on deadly criminal

    Let me give you a solution instead of asking governments those who feel so compassionate towards deadly criminals should create a jail on an island and they should donate part of their income so that these criminals could be kept alive.

    So why should we keep kidnappers in jail.If a person kidnap someone and keeps him/her without his her will and in punishment he gets 10 years of jail
    are we not doing the same.Btw I am not saying that a person who kill 1-2 person should be given death penalty.Death penalty should be reserved for
    for deadly criminals,terrorists etc.
     
  17. Tejwant Singh

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    I do not know about India but in the USA, it costs more for the death penalty person, because of all the appeals etc. etc than to put him/her in jail without parole.

    So, in other words, life imprisonment without the chance of parole is cheaper than death penalty but that is only the economic side.

    To kill someone legally because he/she has killed someone does not make humanity any better than the murderer but much worse.

    Tejwant Singh
     
  18. spnadmin

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  19. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Even sending people to jail for petty crimes which could have been committed out of desperation could not be justified through the angle of humanity.
     
  20. Tejwant Singh

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    Pardon my ignorance but I have no idea that the point you are trying to justify whatever has anything to do with what is being discussed which is death penalty.
     
  21. Lee

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    I'm from the UK over here life typicaly means 20 years, however the initial question was what sort of sentance do I feel is justified for murder, I picked my words very carefully when I answered and said I belive that internment for life is a just sentance for murder.

    I can't speak for the state of prision life in India, nor the corruption you speak of, what I can speak about is morality and logic.

    It makes no logical sense to kill a man for killing a man, and moraly it drags us down to the same level as the murderer. This moral bankruptsy, we have a chance to show ourselves as better people than those who kill. If we choose to act in the same way as those people, then are we any better than them? To punish a man for killing, by killing him, does make us as bad as him, it does and I am dismayed to find people that do not realise this, or even worse, do realise it but brush it under the carpet as being of no concequence.

    I have always found this line of reasoning odd. Let me explian the line of reasoning goes something like this:

    'Why should my tax dollars be spent on this(enter thing you disagree with)?'

    The fact is that we all pay tax and in an ideal world we then elect the kind of goverment that will spend this tax on things that we see value in.
    That is all we can do, if we don't like it then we can use our vote. However goverment is there for all the people, so all goverments are bound to make unpopular choices, this too is fine though. Rather like lady 'Justice' goverment should be blind to one side or the other and do only that which is best for all of it's peoples.

    So if you don't want your goverment to spend your taxes on the prision system, then you have every right to use your vote to get rid of them. However I have said that a society IS measured (amongst other things) by the way it treats it's criminals, I can never see the death penalty being reinstated in the UK I do not believe it's people would allow it.


    Its a valid question Kanwardeep ji.

    When a crime has been commited it is moraly correct that the perputrater is caught, tried, and punished for that crime. Yes it is true that putting a kidnapper into prision is a similar punishment to the crime he has commited, but it is the same punishment as a mugger, or a drug dealer, or a burgler can expect. So we punish all crime in the same way, incareration, we take a criminals freedom from them for a specified amout of time.

    To take somebodys life from them though, even as a punishment for a crime is not moraly correct. As I asked, why is it that murder in most societies on Earth is seen as immoral?
     
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