Is the death penalty uneconomical?

Amnesty: 58 states hold executions

Vienna - "Fewer and fewer states execute people, but a few states execute more and more people." That is the message of the human rights organization Amnesty International on the occasion of the "International Day Against the Death Penalty" on October 10th. According to this, 139 states have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. 58 states continue to adhere to it. According to Amnesty, at least 2,390 people were executed last year. In 2007 there were fewer, namely 1,252. According to the information, there was a dramatic increase among those sentenced to death: at least 8,864 in 2008 compared to 3,347 in 2007. According to the organization, more than 20,000 people around the world are currently waiting to be executed.

At the head of the states that execute people is the People's Republic of China, followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia, where young people are also executed, as well as Pakistan and the USA. In 2008, these five countries were responsible for 93 percent of all executions of death sentences. In contrast, the African states Togo and Burundi abolished the death penalty this year; in Kenya, all death sentences were commuted by general amnesty.

"The trend towards a world without the death penalty is irreversible. The states with the death penalty should understand this signal and finally take steps to overcome the death penalty," said Heinz Patzelt, Secretary General of Amnesty International Austria, in a broadcast. Amnesty belongs to the "World Coalition Against the Death Penalty" with more than 60 other non-governmental organizations, which rejects this form of punishment as cruel, inhuman and degrading. It launched the International Day Against the Death Penalty in 2002. In 2007 the Council of Europe and the EU also declared 10 October "European Day against the Death Penalty".

On October 10, 1789, the doctor Joseph Guillotin had proposed the use of a beheading machine to the French National Assembly for the uniform implementation of the death penalty for all classes. This guillotine went down in history as the guillotine. Until the death penalty was prohibited in 1981, death sentences were carried out by guillotine in France.

The first modern state to outlaw the death penalty was Tuscany: in 1786 the then Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo (a Habsburg and son of Maria Theresa, who as Leopold II later became Roman Emperor 1790-92) ordered the abolition of the death penalty. Every year since 1976 between one and five countries around the world have suspended or abolished the death penalty. Austria removed the punishment with death from the emergency law a good 40 years ago. The death penalty has ceased to exist in EU Europe since Greece abolished it for all crimes in 2004. The "Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union" expressly prohibits the death penalty even in times of war. (APA)