Death penalty for terrorism often unfair: UN chief


Observer Report

New York—Marking World Day Against the Death Penalty on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his remarks said death sentences for terrorism are often handed down after unfair trials by special courts that disrespect human rights and the rule of law.
Marking World Day Against the Death Penalty on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon termed the practice cruel and inhumane.
“The death penalty has no place in the 21st century,” he said in his message to commemorate the day, while adding that, “To be legitimate and effective, counter-terror measures, like all security operations, must be anchored in respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
Globally, 65 countries still retain the death penalty for terrorism-related offences.
“Let us be clear: participation in peaceful protests and criticism of a government — whether in private, on the Internet or in the media — are neither crimes nor terrorist acts. The threat or use of the death penalty in such cases is an egregious violation of human rights,” Ban added.
Further, the UN chief highlighted that confessions were often obtained under duress or in other ways in which the right to appeal is not respected. Some States even criminalize the legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms using ambiguous counter-terrorism legislation.
Countering the argument that capital punishment deters terrorism, Ban said: “This is not true. Experience has shown that putting terrorists to death serves as propaganda for their movements by creating perceived martyrs and making their macabre recruiting campaigns more effective.”
Finally he urged everyone to continue working to abolish the death penalty entirely.