Yesterday, state of Georgia executed Troy Davis, convicted of killing an off duty police officer. Davis, to the very end-moments before being injected with lethal drugs, claimed innocence. His case gathered many supporters from around the world, including some very well known figure like Rev. Al Sharpton, Jimmy Carter, the Pope; because there was too much dobut whether Davis was the actual killer.
No murder weapon was found, and the seven of the nine eyewitnesses changed or recanted all or part of their testimony and the lack of physical evidence directly linking Davis to the crime also added to the mounting doubts. Unfortunately, after years of efforts to set him free or at least clemency from death penalty, Troy Davis was executed.
This case presents the huge moral dilemma of the Death Penalty. You cannot kill a citizen without infallible proof, even slightest doubt or possibility of misstep should be enough to stop an execution because no matter how long it takes to prove the truth-it can be done. A person once gone, is gone forever.
In Troy Davis’ case, what harm would it have done to state of Georgia if they had stayed the execution and investigated the conviction some more? Yes, he got number of opportunities to prove his innocence, but what wrong can one more chance do?
But the man is now dead and if it is proven in future that indeed an innocent man was killed by the state, what repercussions will the state face? How much will that hurt the justice system and people’s faith in the system?
Unfortunately, some idiots (yes, I will call them that) are now calling Nepal to bring back death penalty. I don’t think they understand the gravity of this punishment. You are asking a state to kill its citizens in the name of the law and that is a huge moral black hole. There is no justice in killing someone, and for a country with limited diagnostic and legal resources bringing back death penalty will surely kill hundreds of innocents.
What Nepal needs is better policing, more spending on resources for the victims and also for the accused and a Government serious on ending current environment of impunity. Death penalty should have no place in Nepali justice system.
Here are some relevant posts: