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Time we did away with death penalty

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In 1988, U.S. presidential candidate Michael Dukakis’ failure to support the death penalty sealed his fate at the polls. Thirty years later, the political landscape in the United States and the world has changed. Politicians are openly declaring their opposition to the death penalty and moving to eradicate the practice.

While the overall picture is a positive one, especially with regard to abolition in sub-Saharan Africa, nations that still retain the death penalty are not executing the most egregious offenders. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and China are notorious for executing non-violent drug offenders. Even liberal democracies like Japan defy international norms by putting to death those with mental disabilities.

Despite being the world’s oldest democracy, the United States is the only western nation to retain the death penalty. Nonetheless, a decline in political and legal support for capital punishment is palpable. Prominent politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders openly oppose the death penalty. Other well-known Americans such as former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who once supported the death penalty, have now opposed it. In fact, Justice Stevens has said that he regrets stepping down from the Supreme Court because of the lost opportunity to render the death penalty a cruel and........

© The Statesman