European outrage at US execution

California’s execution of a murderer this morning outraged many in Europe who regard the practice as barbaric, and feelings ran particularly deep in state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s native Austria.

California’s execution of a murderer this morning outraged many in Europe who regard the practice as barbaric, and feelings ran particularly deep in state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s native Austria.

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI’s top official for justice matters denounced the death penalty for going against redemption and human dignity.

“We know the death penalty doesn’t resolve anything,” Cardinal Renato Martino said. “Even a criminal is worthy of respect because he is a human being. The death penalty is a negation of human dignity.”

Capital punishment is illegal throughout the European Union, and many Europeans consider state-sponsored executions to be barbaric.

Those feelings were amplified in the case of Stanley Tookie Williams, due to the apparent remorse they believe the Crips gang co-founder showed by writing children’s books about the dangers of gangs and violence.


While the U.S. government pays lip service to human rights by chiding countries around the world for what it perceives to be human rights violations, America turns a blind eye to its own record of barbaric behavior. This record ranges from the promotion, use and export of torture to illegal warfare based on deliberate lies and rooted in greed. The record shows that the US engages in wilful, deliberate violations of international laws, treaties and conventions. While the USA has much good to offer, the world is justified in denouncing America’s behavior both at home and abroad.

The publishers of Religion News Blog are outspoken critics of the death penalty. We thank our many American friends who support us in our decision to highlight US human rights abuses in Religion News Blog and at the Apologetics Index web site.

Leaders of Austria’s pacifist Green Party went as far as to call for Schwarzenegger to be stripped of his Austrian citizenship – a demand, however, that was quickly rejected by Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel despite his government’s opposition to the death penalty.

“Whoever, out of political calculation, allows the death of a person rehabilitated in such an exemplary manner has rejected the basic values of Austrian society,” said Peter Pilz, a Greens leader.

In Graz, Schwarzenegger’s hometown, local Greens said they would file a petition to remove the governor’s name from the southern city’s Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium.

Williams was executed this morning at California’s San Quentin State Prison after Schwarzenegger denied Williams’ request for clemency.

Schwarzenegger suggested that Williams’ supposed change of heart was not genuine because he had not shown any real remorse for the killings committed by the Crips.

In Italy, the country’s chapter of Amnesty International called the execution of the Crips founder “a cold-blooded murder”.

“His execution is a slap in the face to the principle of rehabilitation of inmates, an inhumane and inclement act toward a person who, with his exemplary behaviour and his activity in favour of street kids, had become an important figure and a symbol of hope for many youths,” the group said in a statement.

In Germany, Volker Beck, a leading member of the opposition Greens party, said he was “disappointed” that Schwarzenegger allowed the execution to go through.

“Schwarzenegger’s decision is a cowardly decision,” Beck told the Netzeitung online newspaper.

“It is not thinkable that a prisoner could do more for society from prison than Williams did,” Beck said. “To kill him nonetheless is state-organized murder out of stubbornness.”

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Ireland On-Line, Ireland
Dec. 13, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday December 13, 2005.
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