ASIA/INDIA - Catholics: a moratorium on the death penalty is urgently needed

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - A few days after the execution of Afzal Guru, one of the terrorists responsible for the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, the Indian Catholic movements, while expressing solidarity and prayers to the families of the victims, call for a moratorium on the death penalty in the country. In a statement sent to Fides Agency, the "Catholic Secular Forum" (CSF) movement of the Indian Catholic laity, remembers that in a recent vote at the UN General Assembly, 110 countries called for the abolition of the death penalty, while India was among the 39 countries that sustained it. According to the UN, about 150 countries have abolished the death penalty or have established a moratorium. The President of the CSF says: "India should consider a moratorium against all executions, pending a review and a comprehensive review of the death penalty."
Christians, he said, are against the death penalty for well known religious reasons, as it defends the sanctity of life. But the Indian Catholic movements oppose the death penalty in force for other reasons which are not strictly religious. Among these is the defense of the right to life, as an inalienable human right, and the possibility that an innocent person is executed due to a judicial error. Moreover, the death penalty does not necessarily heal the wounds of the victims or their families - continues the CSF - and it is an inhumane penalty, which makes society less civil and more cruel. Studies indicate that life imprisonment has major value as a deterrent; the death penalty, finally, also represents a waste of resources, which wastes the courts time and energy and worsens the criminal justice system. For all these reasons, most of the countries of Western Europe, North America and South America have already abolished it, the text concludes, inviting India to follow this path. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/02/2013)