Victims and survivors of crime
Perhaps the most persuasive and passionate arguments against the death penalty are articulated by victims of crime themselves. Some of those who have lost their loved ones to or have been victims of violent crime have found common ground with former death row inmates in the fight for abolition.
Rais Bhuiyan was shot at point-blank range in Texas by Mark Stroman in one of a series of violent crimes following the attacks of 11 September 2001. Blinded in one eye, Rais survived the shooting, and campaigned unsuccessfully against his attacker’s execution in July 2011. “After it happened, I was just simply struggling to survive in this country,” said Rais in an interview with the New York Times. “I decided that forgiveness was not enough. That what he did was out of ignorance. I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on September 11.”
Renny Cushing’s father was gunned down in front of his mother in New Hampshire, USA, on a summer evening in 1998. This shocking act of violence spurred Renny to become a leading voice in victims’ rights and an advocate against the death penalty. “If we let those who kill turn us into murderers, evil triumphs and we’re all worse off,” he told Amnesty International in a recent interview. Read more
A view from death row
Chiou Ho-shun was sentenced to death in Taiwan in 1989 and is at imminent risk of execution. His conviction was based on a confession he says he was tortured into making and which he later retracted. His case is the longest running criminal case in Taiwan. Hear his story
The death penalty in 2011
Top 5 executioners in 2011
Support for death penalty wanes
Why are they hiding?
Japan: 40 years on death row