Death penalty decision
Amnesty International warmly welcomes the decision by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to abandon the death penalty (New Mexico bans death penalty, The Herald, March 20).
As Governor Richardson says, no legal system can ever be perfect but the death penalty is an inherently flawed mechanism for criminal redress.
It is a violation of our fundamental right to life, and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
It clearly contravenes articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent, and it has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments.
At the time of the International Conference on the Death Penalty in 1977, just 16 countries around the world had abolished capital punishment for all crimes. Today that figure stands at 80, while many more have not conducted executions for years. There is still a long way to go but, as more countries move away from the use of capital punishment, maybe the glimmer of hope is in sight.
(source: The Herald; John Watson, Programme Director, Scotland, Amnesty International, Rosebery House, 9 Haymarket Terrace Edinburgh)