There is no human way to kill: the death penalty as torture

In the fight against torture, we know that often torture and ill-treatment take place within prisons or places of detention. Our IRCT Patron Dr. Manfred Nowak, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, said in his 18 official country visits, he witnessed abuse and inhumane treatment in prisons in all but one.

“Prison walls have a double function: to lock people in and the public out,” Nowak said in his Global Reading for 26 June.

Yet, even within these most deplorable conditions, there is a lower level of inhumanity and abuse: death row inmates.

On this 9th World Day Against the Death Penalty, we, at World Without Torture, join the chorus of those calling for an end to the inhumanity of state death penalties.

“The dreadful conditions on death row inflict extreme psychological suffering and execution is a physical and mental assault,” states the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty on their site.

The conditions for these detainees are deplorable. The constant uncertainty can create mental illnesses. And the use of death as a punishment constitutes torture: there is no human way to kill.

In 2010, 23 countries carried out executions and 67 imposed death sentences in 2010. Methods of execution in 2010 included beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and shooting, according to Amnesty International.

For more information, and other articles on the World Day Against the Death Penalty:

`Death Penalty: Cruel, inhuman and degrading with lethal consequences` (
Activists commemorate 9th World Day Against the Death Penalty (Think Centre press release)
EU reaffirms call to abolish death penalty (Today Online)
The Death Penalty in 2010 (Amnesty International)


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