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Is death penalty for sexual criminals the right step?

Although there is public outrage in support of death penalty for convicted sexual criminals the international law prohibits such law.

2022 Jun 15, 10:04, Kathmandu
Photo : capital punishment / pix4free
It has been observed often and in recent times that netizens soar to social media platforms demanding sexual perpetrators to be given death sentences. Movements such as
‘#hangtherapist’ that trend on multiple social media platforms show a considerable amount of support from members of the public in regards to introducing death penalty for heinous crimes such as rape.

“Hanging is not the solution; it goes against human rights declared by the United Nations. Instead, we are discussing chemical castration in the parliament,” says Member of Parliament, Binda Pandey.

Even though death penalty has been historically implemented in Nepal, it was abolished following the constitutional provision in 1990. Article 16, of the current constitution of Nepal, guarantees the right to live with dignity to all citizens of Nepal, and has prohibited the formulation of laws involving death punishment. In addition to that, Nepal has ratified the ‘Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)’ which prevents the execution of death sentences.

“ Nepal has ratified an international human rights declaration which prevents a country from sentencing a person to death. In giving death sentences, there is a fear of mistake and unfairness from the court system as well,” says Superintendent of Kathmandu Police, Dinesh Raj Mainali. In order to introduce harsh punishments for crimes, he emphasized on the simultaneous introduction of strict punishment of people bearing false witness in the court as well.

Amidst public outrage and demands, Bangladesh approved death penalty for rape in 2020 joining Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives and India in the list of countries which allow death penalty. According to Amnesty International, most known executions last year took place in China, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria in the respective order.

Amnesty International, a prominent international human rights organization holds the view that “ death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”. Amnesty International is against all death penalty practices regardless of the severity of crime or method of execution used. It argues that judicial systems can make a mistake and sentence the wrong person to death, and death punishments can be given unfairly to target specific sections of society or political opponents. It also argues that there is lack of sufficient evidence that death penalty deters crimes and insists on giving life imprisonment sentences instead.

“I do not support introducing death penalty, in the case of convicted perpetrator of rape, because there is a greater chance of such a law being misused in Nepal. The weak will be targeted and the powerful will get away,” concludes Dikshya Raut, a Legal advocate specializing in Human Rights and Internet Law.


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