Parliament finds capital punishment abolished in 97 countries

November 25, 2012, Sunday/ 16:52:00/ HABİB GÜLER

In the wake of a recent proposal by the prime minister that Turkey may discuss bringing back the death penalty, Parliament has made a brief study about the practice of capital punishment around the world and has found that the punishment has been abolished in 97 countries and it is still in practice in 58 others.

According to the parliamentary study, eight countries still use the death penalty for serious crimes and 35 others have not abolished it but have not executed prisoners in many years.

The last time a prisoner was executed in Turkey was in 1984. In 2002, Turkey abolished the death penalty in peacetime as part of a reform package aimed at preparing the country for EU membership, and foreswore the practice in all circumstances, including times of war, in 2004. The death penalty was replaced by life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made several references to the death penalty. Most recently, he spoke of the capital punishment in mid-November, saying the death penalty is sometimes justified. He stated that Turkey may discuss bringing back capital punishment for crimes of terror and murder.

The justice minister and government officials, however, say there is no work under way at the ministry or the government for the reinstatement of capital punishment.

The death penalty is still being used in the US, Japan and China. Capital punishment has not been abolished in Russia and South Korea, but it has not been imposed for many years.

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