Sunday, January 19, 2003

I am not for one moment pouring cold water on the actions of the human rights activists. But I am not moved to be a moralist on the issue of the death penalty. I know that our justice system has a very definite middle class bias. I know that the investigative work of the police is at best, shoddy and in instances, appalling. But our courts also allow those convicted for murder their appeals. Once they have gone through the processes and the convictions are upheld, they should be executed.

— Mark Wignall, arguing in his column in today's Observer that Jamaica has nothing to learn from Illinois governor George Ryan's recent decision to commute all his state's current death sentences. Wignall goes on:

It is not, in my book, anything to do with justice. It is the need of the victims' relatives and loved ones to see the person or persons who brutally murdered others themselves be put to death by the state whose duty it was to protect the deceased in the first place. It is not about justice; that is too high flown a word. It is about vengeance.

"Not anything to do with justice"? I've never heard so clear a statement of the moral bankruptcy of the death penalty.

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