[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Jul 10 11:33:57 CDT 2004
Draft law to end death penalty gets mixed reviews----Public split on
A draft law presented by 7 MPs to Parliament last week calling for
abolishing capital punishment has been met with mixed reviews from
academics and the general public
The draft law, submitted by MPs Nayla Mouawad, Mosbah Ahdab, Bassem
al-Sabeh, Nabil de Freij, Henry al -Helo, Marwan Fares, and Salah Honein,
suggested that the death penalty be replaced with lifetime imprisonment
with hard labor.
Tripoli MP Ahdab said there are other ways to punish someone than by
"It is not up to us to take a person's life," he said. "When a society
takes someone's life, it is acting like the criminal."
Ahdab said that "the life sentence" suggested in the draft law "is not
subject to personal pardon, thus the criminal will not be able to get out
"We cannot cure killing by killing' it is immoral," said Kesrouan MP
Neamatallah Abi Nasr. "Life is precious, and one cannot weigh in an
argument whether to take life."
Abi Nasr considered the draft law worth studying.
"It is not a matter of black and white," he said, adding: "We have to
discuss the matter thoroughly."
According to lawyer Abdul Salam Shoueib, who is the chairman of the Beirut
Bar Association's Human Rights Committee, "life is granted by God, and He
is the only one who can take it.
"Personally, I'm with eliminating capital punishment," said Shoueib.
"Prison is not for punishing; on the contrary, it is a facility for
As for having taxpayers paying for the criminal's life in prison, Shoueib
said: "The public should not be asked to bear the burden of the criminal."
He explained that prisoners abroad work in jail workshops and earn their
living, unlike Lebanon's old, out-dated prisons.
The Daily Star held an informal street poll to check people's opinion
about capital punishment. Out of 52 people interviewed in Beirut and the
southern suburbs, 21 interviewees - or 42 % - supported capital
punishment. A 20-something bar tender who said he had served a month in
prison for "getting involved in a problem" said he supported capital
punishment, "as prison is horrible. It's better for the criminal's sake to
be sentenced to death."
"If there was no capital punishment any criminal would commit crimes,
knowing that he will only be sentenced to life in prison, and spare his
life," said another respondent, Johnny Nassar, 25.
On the other hand, 31 people - or 58 % of those questioned - were opposed
to the death penalty.
One college student hesitated between supporting and opposing it.
"Religion-wise, God owns all lives, and it is not up to us to deprive
anyone from his life," she said. Nonetheless, "horrible crimes should face
severe punishment to set an example for others."
(source: The Daily Star)
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