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France Télévisions
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Langues vivantes01:42

What is the death penalty?

A Question A Day

In certain countries, the law authorizes the execution of a convicted person: the death penalty. Those condemned to death are often guilty of very serious crimes: murdering several people for example. 

But if the law authorizes the death penalty, does that mean it’s legal to kill somebody? 

No, because the death penalty is only applied in a very strict framework: only a court can decide. And the execution is carried out following a defined procedure: the electric chair, lethal injection or firing squad. There’s quite a debate about the death penalty: its opponents state that it’s contrary to the Declaration of Human Rights, which says that “everyone has the right to life”. Many countries have already abolished it: 142, including Venezuela, France and Canada. On the other hand, defenders of the death penalty say that it scares criminals and therefore reduces crime. Although that argument has never been proved… 58 countries still have the death penalty, including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the USA.
The death penalty is sometimes used to intimidate the people, to prevent them from expressing themselves and criticizing the authorities, like in China and Saudi Arabia. Some countries execute prisoners without giving them a fair trial to defend themselves… And again in other countries, lawyers are so expensive that poor people are more likely to be condemned to death than others. Yet, the number of countries using the death penalty goes down every year: 41 countries in 1995 versus 22 in 2014.

Nom de l'auteur : Jacques Azam

Producteur : Milan Presse, France Télévisions

Année de copyright : 2018

Publié le 27/08/18

Modifié le 21/03/19

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