OK, a political forum, I like the sound of that as I love debating :)
Anyways, let me bring on a subject that is quite a sensitive one for me as I am involved in campaigning and member of an abolitionist group. Capital punishment aka the death penalty.
The basic facts are that for now about 75% of the world is not using the death penalty anymore. Either the death penalty is legally abolished (eg all EU countries, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, ...) or the death penalty is not removed from the lawbook yet but has not been used for over a decade without any signs of new death sentences or executions coming up (eg Russia, Israel, Morocco, most Latin American countries, ...)
Of the 25% remaining countries using the death penalty, most executions are carried out by China, the USA, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Sudan. Singapore has the highest rate of executions per capita. Note that within the US only 35 states of the 50 have the death penalty, along with the military and federal government.
Most executions are carried out by lethal injection or hanging, depending from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with a minority of countries using different methods (eg Saudi Arabia).
Recently the more rapid way of spreading news on crime along with fears of terrorism and a rise in some types of crime, have stirred up the capital punishment debate again in Europe as well, with a growing number of people wanting the death penalty back. However, the European Union and Council of Europe have abolition of capital punishment as a condition for membership, so re-introduction of capital punishment in Europe seems highly unlikely.
What are your stances on this subject?
I am against capital punishment in any possible circumstance and regardless of the crime, for the following reasons:
1) statistics show that capital punishment as deterrent for crime does not work. Countries without capital punishment usually have no higher crime rates than those who still execute, while within the US states without death penalty also don't have a higher crime rate.
2) the costs of executing someone are generally higher than to imprison someone for life, due to very long processes and appeals. This is if you wish money to be an argument, which I am against (the life of a human being should always be more important than money)
3) Capital punishment brings no victims back, no crime can ever be un-done. It only creates another victim, takes yet another life. While having full sympathy to those who lost a loved one in a brutal crime, let's not forget that every criminal is also somebody's son/daughter/husband/wife/father/mother/... and that these relatives usually do not wish death upon their loved one, no matter how much they hate his acts.
4) I believe that to let a person count the days till death as if you count days till holidays is brutally inhumane and extreme emotional torture. Also, the whole idea of using medical science to terminate a life is bothering me. There is no such thing as humane ways of killing.
5) Justice is not about revenge, it is about protecting society from a dangerous and harmful individual. This can be done perfectly by carrying out life sentences for the most extreme crimes. Terminating the life of a condemned prisoner is totally unnecessary and serves no purpose at all. Justice and revenge are totally different things and mutually exclude each other.
While awaiting with curiosity about the responses, let me also pass you the link to the website of the abolitionist group I am a member of. We campaign mainly in the States and have so far had a few successes with prisoners whose sentenced was changed into life in prison.