Report: Worldwide executions down in

United States only country to execute for juvenile crimes
AP, Apr. 11, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/04/11/amnesty.report.ap/index.html

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people executed by governments worldwide fell dramatically last year, but increased in the Amnesty International reported Friday.


U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Information about U.S. human rights violations and related issues is included in Religion News Blog for the following reasons:

Apologetics Index deals with cults, sects, and related issues – including religious freedom and other human rights.

America’s goverment frequently accuses countries (including, for example, France and Germany) that protect their citizens against destructive and/or fraudulent cults of violating ‘human rights’ – and even threathens those countries with economic boycotts should they not accept America’s views on these issues.

Ironically, while America chides other countries for alleged human righs violations, Washington consistently and deliberately refuses to address America’s dismal record of human rights violations. The Bible condemns the use of such differing measures.

As Christians, the publishers of Apologetic Index believe that they (and other Christians) should address human rights issues.

The publishers of Apologetics Index agree with those who consider America’s war on Iraq to be a violation of international law which, among other things, further endangers human rights around the world. As Christians, they are embarassed by the fact that those responsible for these violations claim to do so with the blessing of God.

They also believe that America’s attitude toward international law – including its fight against the International Criminal Court, its use of torture, and its inconsistent application of the Geneva Conventions – presents a serious threat to the international community.

As members of Amnesty International, the publishers of Apologetics Index are outspoken critics of America’s manifold human rights violations. They encourage their fellow Christians to address these issues, keeping in mind the Bible’s two great commandments.

The report, “Death Penalty Worldwide: Developments in 2002,” said that 1,526 people were known to be executed in 31 countries in 2002. China, Iran and the United States accounted for 81 percent of all executions.

The worldwide total is down from 3,048 executions in 2001, mainly because of a sharp drop in Chinese executions. Amnesty counted 2,468 executions in China in 2001. The total fell to 1,060 in 2002.

China implemented a “strike hard” policy in 2001 that imposed death sentences on people convicted of lesser crimes and resulted in a surge in executions, according to Amnesty spokesman Alistair Hodgett.

Iran had the second-most executions last year, 113, followed by the United States with 71, according to the report. The U.S. total was an increase of five from the previous year.

Cyprus, Serbia and Montenegro abolished capital punishment, while Turkey abolished the death penalty in practice, according to the report.

Last year, the United States was the only known country to execute people who committed crimes as juveniles.

“This blight on our country’s human rights record belies our claim to be an international human rights defender,” said William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the three people put to death for juvenile crimes were:

• Napoleon Beazley, 17 at the time of his crime, 25 when put to death.

• T.J. Jones, 17 at the time of his crime, 25 when put to death.

• Toronto Patterson, 17 at the time of his crime, 24 when put to death.

But under Texas law, the three were not considered as juveniles. Texas considers 16-year-olds as adults, and in that state a person convicted of capital murder can get the death penalty for a crime committed at age 17.

The Supreme Court last year barred the execution of mentally retarded killers as unconstitutional but is sharply split over whether states should be allowed to use capital punishment for people who were juveniles when they committed their crimes.

Four justices have called the executions “shameful,” but they do not have a fifth vote to stop them.

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