In a world characterized by all forms of crimes, law and justice are very important aspects in the society. There are different levels of crimes. Some are civil while others are capital. Governments and religious organization dictate the course of justice to the offended and the punishment to the convicted in the society. There are various forms of justice and punishment applied by governments and religious groups. Different crimes require different punishments. Among such punishments is the death penalty. However, in also most all cases the power to prescribe a punishment rests with the courts of law that are arms of the government. Death penalty also known as capital punishment is a governments pre-meditated, and planned lawful infliction of death as a punishment to a legally convicted person. This paper will discuss in details the death penalty, support death penalty, and specifically relate the punishment to the Islam religion. It will also draw a personal conclusion.
Generally, there is a decreasing tread of death penalty punishments in the recent times. American citizens, political leaders, and religious leaders have been victims of this punishment. Indeed, the numbers are significant. According to Amnesty International, most countries did not use the punishment in 2009. About two-thirds of the countries abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, while 58 countries retained the death penalty in 2009. Consequently, eighteen countries actually carried out executions, killing more than 700 people. However, these figures did not include unreported executions carried out in China. From 1976 to April 2008, execution took place on about 1,099 people in the U.S while those on the death row were 3263. According to Amnesty international, in the year 2008 there were 1718 executions in China were, 346 in Iran, 102 in Saudi Arabia, 37 in United States, 36 in Pakistan, 34 in Iraq, 19 in Vietnam, 17 in Afghanistan, 15 in North Korea and 66 in Japan and other countries. Similarly, by April 1, 2008, 37 states in the U.S were practicing death penalty. To date, the USA, Japan, some African states, China, many Asian and Middle Eastern countries retain the death penalty crimes (Amnesty international web). The only conclusion we can make from these statistics is that death penalty is still exists in many countries. Certainly, it is because of its effectiveness in controlling capital offences and rendering justice.
The crimes that may lead to a death penalty vary from one country to another and from one religion to another. Same case applies to the methods of carrying out the execution. Some of the crimes that can warrant a death penalty are murder, treason, rape, terrorism, and even adultery in the Muslim religion. Islam law specifically outlines intentional murder, treason, adultery as crimes befitting a death penalty. Generally, in all cases, intentional murder warrants a death penalty. Hanging, stoning, firing squad and beheading are some of the execution methods that Islam recommends. Again, executions take place in public to serve as warnings to would-be criminals. Under the Islam law, enough evidence must be produced against a convict in a due court process for this penalty to be given.
Since the early times, there have been debates and opinions in support and against the death penalty. In the United States, there is an equal division in relation to death penalty. Amnesty international condemns the death penalty in all cases regardless of the characteristics of the offender, nature of crime, or the method of execution. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the penalty is a denial of the right to life. It also quotes that death penalty is a violent practice, and does not accord justice to either the accused or the offended. However, murder is also a violent act, and he who commits it is violent. Thus, it is only fair that he should expect an equally violent punishment like a death penalty. Others argue that it is more expensive to kill a person than to put him in a jail. Nevertheless, imprisonment is only termed as a waste of government resources on someone who has no respect for the government laws and its citizens. Why should the government feed, accommodate and guarantee good health care to a criminal instead of using the same resources to better the lives of law-abiding citizens.
The death penalty will prolong suffering to the victims because the life of the murdered person is irreplaceable. It is also worth noting that long court process preceding a death penalty can be a source of suffering. However, this is worth waiting for because the reality of living in the same community with a person who murdered a relative is more painful.
Almost all religious groups have respect for human life and thus condemn death penalty. However, Islam that is a very dominant religion in the U.S largely supports the death penalty in given crimes upon legal proof. The death penalty will also depend on the degree of the legal representation, which is not unilateral. It is thus the duty of the government and complainant to ensure legal professional representation is up to standards in such high profiled cases.
Politics, racialism, and jurisdiction of the courts determine the outcome of court process and therefore may result to unjustified death penalty. This argument is however behind proving because in the recent times, political leaders like Saddam Hussein have faced death penalties and the degree of racial discrimination is very low.
The America Civil Liberties Union denotes that the penalty violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment in the U.S. It argues that the death penalty does not guarantee the due process of law, is not a viable way of controlling crime, and that innocent people meet the death penalty unfairly (America Civil Liberties Union web). Although executing an innocent person is an injustice that is not reversible, such cases are very few. Again, I find that it is the duty of the lawyers to exercise professionalism in proving someone’s’ innocence. The failure of a lawyer to prove innocence, cannot amount to total condemnation of a punishment.
However, there has been more support regarding the death penalty. In fact, some argue that it is the best form of justice to a person who intentionally takes away the life of another. They observe that an eye for an eye is the best practice. In fact, why should a person continue living after denying another the chance to continue enjoying theirs? The Muslim community has considerably supported this penalty saying that the Koran approves it (Guernsey 122). The Koran records that if a person physically harms or injures another, the law should allow the offended to harm the accused in the same manner and extent. It also prescribes death to a person who offends the community, prosecutes the Islam religion, or promotes terror against the state.
Others observe that death penalty is good in that it completely removes criminals from the society and that the government would rather spend money on the sick and old than on jailing a criminal. They argue that in a just society, it is only fair and just to accord death to taking of a life. In conclusion, I state that death penalty should apply where justice demands so. However, the courts should establish the necessary procedures to ensure that the court process and the penalty come to being in a free and fair way.Works Cited
America Civil Liberties Union “The Case against the Death Penalty” Web 14, February 2012
Amnesty international “Abolish the death penalty” Web 14, February 2012.
Guernsey, JoAnn Bren. “Death Penalty: Fair Solution or Moral Failure?” London: Twenty-First Century Books, 2009. Print.