Death in Texas comes for a lot of men and some woman in the form of an injection needle while they are strapped on a gurney in the death house in Huntsville Texas in the United States. This month the state of Texas expects to dispose itself of its 300th murderer after the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976. In total in the United States 827 men, woman and children where executed. If the scheduled roster is followed the ‘honor’ will go to Michael Johnson, a man who killed someone at a robbery when he was 19.
You can only wonder how such an occasion is celebrated in Texas. Will governor Rick Perry personally travel down to Huntsville to push the button which will cause the death of Johnson? Or will it be George Bush, the American president, who oversaw the execution of the greater half, namely 152 of these executions, when he was governor of the state of Texas? Probably not. Both declined to witness executions. Even with all the attention action groups, like Amnesty International, and the press are giving to the mechanics of the death penalty the train in Texas rolls on. Currently 446 people are awaiting execution, with eleven executions planned in the next months. The example set by Illinois where all death penalty’s where commuted because the governor of that state doubted the fairness of has only caused ripples on the surface in Texas. This year alone already six men have abandoned there lives on the ultimate altar of ‘tough on crime’ politicians and hardboiled crime fighters, pushing for more executions.
As flawed as capital punishment was in Illinois, as flawed it is in Texas. International treaties are breached by the state executing foreign offenders, which were not given the assistance of the home country guaranteed under the Vienna convention. The execution of a Mexican last year caused a major diplomatic incident with the neighbors. President Fox of Mexico cancelled a visit to Texas as protest. Seven innocent people are already released after the spent together more than seventy years on death row, according to figures from Amnesty International. Some controversial executions have taken place, where opponents protest the guilt of the executed. The systems also allowed children and people with limited mental capacity to be executed, although steps are taken to mend that.
“Texas' capital punishment system exemplifies the findings that have emerged in recent studies conducted in Maryland and Illinois that reveal that the death penalty is determined by a geographic lottery”, according to press release of Amnesty International.” While Texas accounts for less than ten percent of the US population, it has been responsible for more than one-third of the national judicial death toll since 1976. Furthermore, Harris County prosecutors sentenced 35 % of Texas' death row population, yet that county accounts for only 15 % of the state's population. If Harris County were a state, it would rank 2nd with Virginia behind Texas in the number of executed inmates in 2002," the organization said. The total number of executions last year in Texas was 33, with 4 from Harris County. Virginia had 4 total executions.”
Meanwhile the pressure on Texas is growing. International investors are more and more concerned about the human rights situation in Texas. The Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty has called for a tourist boycott of Texas and many government leaders asked the United States and Texas to revoke the death penalty and respect Human Rights on this issue. Until their call is heard executions will go one, although more and more people are listening. The United States and Japan are the only modern democracies, which still have this ultimate penalty
Richard Wagenaar Special for PRAVDA.Ru Netherlands
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