Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Black in Berlin: Germany's Opinion on the Death Penalty

The following post is the latest installment of my weekly feature on Parlour Magazine. Parlour Magazine is the premier online destination for women across the globe, offering the best in fashion, beauty, politics, music and breaking news. I write about living in Berlin from the perspective of a Black American Woman.

The European Union (EU) considers capital punishment to be the ultimate violation of human rights and basic human dignity. The EU’s position on capital punish is absolute, no crime warrants the death penalty. One of the mandates of the EU is to abolish capital punishment worldwide starting with its member countries. The EU has never been shy about its disapproval of America’s use of the death penalty, two days before the scheduled execution of Troy Davis they tried to intervene and pleaded for the commutation of his sentence.

In recent memory there have been instances where America and Europe’s ideological differences have manifested into actual beef. In 2009 it was announced that the US would seek the death penalty for the men accused of organizing the 9/11 attacks. One of the defendants shared an apartment with two of the hijackers while living in Hamburg, Germany. Germany demanded assurances that the evidence turned over by German law officials would not be used to support a death penalty. Germany and other EU countries can choose to deny evidence that would lead to death sentence convictions or refuse to extradite accused murderers due to the possibility of receiving the death sentence unless the United States guarantees that capital punishment won’t be pursued. Outside of the courtroom, Germany, Italy and Denmark have made it increasingly difficult for the United States to source key drugs needed to make the lethal injection cocktail.

Japan, South Korea, and the United States are the only established democracies that still conduct executions. Germany abolished capital punishment in 1949. It was believed for a long time that Germany abolished the death penalty in response to brutal executions committed by the Nazis, in an effort to restore the value for human rights. Read the rest of the article here.

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