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    Early History of the Death Penalty

    Early Death Penalty Laws The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C. The death penalty was also part of the…

    History Of The Death Penalty

    Early History of the Death Penalty

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    Early Death Penalty Laws

    The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon, which codified the death penalty for 25 different crimes. The death penalty was also part of the Fourteenth Century B.C.’s Hittite Code; in the Seventh Century B.C.’s Draconian Code of Athens, which made death the only punishment for all crimes; and in the Fifth Century B.C.’s Roman Law of the Twelve Tablets. Death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement.

    In the Tenth Century A.D., hanging became the usual method of execution in Britain. In the following century, William the Conqueror would not allow persons to be hanged or otherwise executed for any crime, except in times of war. This trend would not last, for in the Sixteenth Century, under the reign of Henry VIII, as many as 72,000 people are estimated to have been executed. Some common methods of execution at that time were boiling, burning at the stake, hanging, beheading, and drawing and quartering. Executions were carried out for such capital offenses as marrying a Jew, not confessing to a crime, and treason.

    The number of capital crimes in Britain continued to rise throughout the next two centuries. By the 1700s, 222 crimes were punishable by death in Britain, including stealing, cutting down a tree, and robbing a rabbit warren. Because of the severity of the death penalty, many juries would not convict defendants if the offense was not serious. This lead to reforms of Britain’s death penalty. From 1823 to 1837, the death penalty was eliminated for over 100 of the 222 crimes punishable by death. (Randa, 1997)

    The Death Penalty in America

    Britain influenced America’s use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice of capital punishment. The first recorded execution in the new colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608. Kendall was executed for being a spy for Spain. In 1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and Martial Laws, which provided the death penalty for even minor offenses such as stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians.

    Laws regarding the death penalty varied from colony to colony. The Massachusetts Bay Colony held its first execution in 1630, even though the Capital Laws of New England did not go into effect until years later. The New York Colony instituted the Duke’s Laws of 1665. Under these laws, offenses such as striking one’s mother or father, or denying the “true God,” were punishable by death. (Randa, 1997)


    Amnesty International, ​“List of Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries,” Report ACT 50/​01/​99, April 1999

    D. Baker: ​“A Descriptive Profile and Socio-Historical Analysis of Female Executions in the United States: 1632 – 1997”; 10(3) Women and Criminal Justice 57 (1999)

    R. Bohm, ​“Deathquest: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States,” Anderson Publishing, 1999.

    “The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies,” H. Bedau, edi­tor, Oxford University Press, 1997.

    K. O’Shea, ​“Women and the Death Penalty in the United States, 1900 – 1998,” Praeger 1999.

    W. Schabas ​“The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law,” Cambridge University Press, sec­ond edi­tion, 1997.

    “Society’s Final Solution: A History and Discussion of the Death Penalty,” L. Randa, edi­tor, University Press of America, 1997.

    V. Streib, ​“Death Penalty For Female Offenders January 1973 to October 2010,” Ohio Northern University, 2003.

    स्रोत : deathpenaltyinfo.org

    Capital punishment in France

    Capital punishment in France

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    Capital punishment in France (French: is banned by Article 66-1 of the Constitution of the French Republic, voted as a constitutional amendment by the Congress of the French Parliament on 19 February 2007 and simply stating "No one can be sentenced to the death penalty" (French: ). The death penalty was already declared illegal on 9 October 1981 when President François Mitterrand signed a law prohibiting the judicial system from using it and commuting the sentences of the seven people on death row to life imprisonment. The last execution took place by guillotine, being the main legal method since the French Revolution; Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian citizen convicted of torture and murder on French soil, who was put to death in September 1977 in Marseille.[1]

    Major French death penalty abolitionists across time have included philosopher Voltaire; poet Victor Hugo; politicians Léon Gambetta, Jean Jaurès and Aristide Briand; and writers Alphonse de Lamartine and Albert Camus.


    1 History 1.1 Ancien Régime

    1.2 Adoption of the guillotine

    1.3 Penal Code of 1791

    1.4 1939 onwards 1.4.1 Clemency 1.4.2 Amnesty 1.5 Abolition

    1.5.1 Abolition process in 1981

    2 Current status

    3 Variations in French opinion

    4 Executions from 1958 to abolition

    5 Notable opponents 6 Notable advocates 7 References 8 Bibliography


    Ancien Régime[edit]

    Robert-François Damiens being dismembered for his attempted murder on Louis XV.

    Prior to 1791, under the Ancien Régime, there existed a variety of means of capital punishment in France, depending on the crime and the status of the condemned person:

    Hanging was the most common punishment.

    Decapitation by sword, for nobles only.

    Burning for arson, bestiality, heresy, sodomy, and witchcraft. The convict was occasionally discreetly strangled.

    Breaking wheel for brigandage and murder. The convict could be strangled before having his limbs broken or after, depending on the atrocity of his crime.

    Death by boiling for counterfeiting.

    Dismemberment for high treason, parricide, and regicide.

    On 6 July 1750, Jean Diot and Bruno Lenoir were strangled and burned at the stake in Place de Grève for sodomy, the last known execution for sodomy in France.[2] Also in 1750, Jacques Ferron was either hanged or burned at the stake in Vanvres for bestiality, the last known execution for bestiality in France.[3][4][5]

    Adoption of the guillotine[edit]

    Robespierre and associates executed 1794

    Public execution by guillotine in Lons-le-Saunier, 1897

    The first campaign towards the abolition of the death penalty began on 30 May 1791, but on 6 October that year the National Assembly refused to pass a law abolishing the death penalty. However, they did abolish torture, and also declared that there would now be only one method of execution: 'Tout condamné à mort aura la tête tranchée' (All condemned to death will have their heads cut off).

    In 1789, physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin proposed that all executions be carried out by a simple and painless mechanism, which led to the development and eventual adoption of the guillotine. Beheading had previously been reserved only for nobles and carried out manually by handheld axes or blades; commoners would usually be hanged or subjected to more brutal methods. Therefore, the adoption of the guillotine for all criminals regardless of social status not only made executions more efficient and less painful, but it also removed the class divisions in capital punishment altogether. As a result, many felt the device made the death penalty more humane and egalitarian.

    The guillotine was first used on Nicolas Jacques Pelletier on 25 April 1792. Guillotine usage then spread to other countries such as Germany (where it had been used since before the revolution), Italy, Sweden (used in a single execution), the Netherlands and French colonies in Africa, Canada, French Guiana and French Indochina. Although other governments employed the device, France has executed more people by guillotine than any other nation.

    Penal Code of 1791[edit]

    On October 6, 1791, the Penal Code of 1791 was enacted, which abolished capital punishment in the Kingdom of France for bestiality, blasphemy, heresy, pederasty, sacrilege, sodomy, and witchcraft.[6][7]

    1939 onwards[edit]

    This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

    Public executions were the norm and continued until 1939. From the mid-19th century, the usual time of day for executions changed from around 3 pm to morning and then to dawn. Executions had been carried out in large central public spaces such as market squares but gradually moved towards the local prison. In the early 20th century, the guillotine was set up just outside the prison gates. The last person to be publicly guillotined was six-time murderer Eugen Weidmann who was executed on 17 June 1939 outside the St-Pierre prison in Versailles. Photographs of the execution appeared in the press, and apparently this spectacle led the government to stop public executions and to hold them instead in prison courtyards, such as La Santé Prison in Paris. Following the law, the first to be guillotined inside a prison was Jean Dehaene, who had murdered his estranged wife and father-in-law, executed on 19 July 1939 at St-Brieuc.

    स्रोत : en.wikipedia.org

    Saudi Arabia: Death penalty against juvenile offender amounts to arbitrary deprivation of life, say UN experts

    GENEVA (31 May 2022) – UN human rights experts* today called on the Government of Saudi Arabia to immediately release Abdullah al-Howaiti and quash the death penalty against him for crimes he allegedly committed as a child.


    Saudi Arabia: Death penalty against juvenile offender amounts to arbitrary deprivation of life, say UN experts

    31 May 2022 Share



    High-Level Side Event at the UN Human Rights Council on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights


    46th session of the Human Rights CouncilBiennial high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penaltyTheme: Human rights violations related to the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect to whether the use of the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crime rate


    75th session of the UN General Assembly Virtual High-Level Side Event“Death penalty and gender dimension – Exploring disadvantage and systemic barriers affecting death sentences”

    GENEVA (31 May 2022) – UN human rights experts* today called on the Government of Saudi Arabia to immediately release Abdullah al-Howaiti and quash the death penalty against him for crimes he allegedly committed as a child.

    Al-Howaiti was arrested in May 2017, when he was only 14 years old, accused of robbery and murder, and convicted, despite having an alibi, based on a confession of guilt extracted under torture and other ill-treatment. Al-Howaiti was recently sentenced to death for a second time after his original conviction was overturned by the Saudi Supreme Court in 2021.

    “We are alarmed by the confirmation of the death sentence against Mr. Al-Howaiti, on 2 March 2022, without initiating any investigation into the allegations of torture or determining the veracity of the coerced confession of guilt,” the experts said.

    If confirmed by the Court of Appeal, the death penalty would be final and Al-Howaiti will be at an imminent risk of execution.

    The UN experts were dismayed by the conviction of Al-Howaiti following a trial marred with due process irregularities, including failure to consider an alibi, the dismissal of allegations of torture and ill-treatment and the admission of torture tainted confessions as incriminating evidence, without proper investigation.

    “We would like to remind the Saudi authorities of their obligation to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation wherever there are reasonable grounds to believe that torture has been committed, and to exclude any evidence obtained through torture and coercion from judicial proceedings,” they said.

    The imposition of the death penalty on children is absolutely prohibited under international law. No exception or derogation from this prohibition is possible under any circumstances, the UN experts recalled.

    “We urge the Saudi Government to adopt without delay the necessary legislative measures to abolish the imposition of the death penalty for children for all crimes, including in relation to offences punished under qisas and hudud,” the experts said. Qisas is a category of retributive justice for murder in Saudi Arabia, which allows families of the victims to demand the death sentence, compensation or offer a pardon, while hudud refers to Islamic penal law or Quranic punishments for offences including theft, brigandage, adultery and apostasy.

    In November 2021, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded in its opinion No. 72/2021 that the detention of Al-Howaiti was arbitrary.

    “Prolonged incommunicado detention can facilitate the perpetration of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and can in itself constitute a form of such treatment,” the experts said.

    The UN experts have previously expressed their concerns regarding this case to the Government of Saudi Arabia. They reiterated their request to the authorities to take immediate measures to protect the moral and physical integrity of Abdullah Al-Howaiti, considering his age and vulnerability.


    *The experts: Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Ms. Miriam Estrada-Castillo (Chair-Rapporteur), Mr. Mumba Malila (Vice-Chair), Ms. Elina Steinerte, Mr. Matthew Gillett, Ms. Priya Gopalan; Mr. Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

    Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

    For more information and media requests, please contact: Ms. Lucie Viersma (+ 41 22 928 9380 / lucie.viersma@un.org) or write to ohchr-wgad@un.org.

    For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts, please contact Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 79 444 7578 / jeremy.laurence@un.org)

    Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter: @UN_SPExperts.

    Concerned about the world we live in?

    Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today.


    स्रोत : www.ohchr.org

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