Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ex-Aussie PM: End Executions in U.S. (Iran's Gay Killings Cited)

This may be the first time I've read a mainstream news story in the English language that links the shameful use of capital punishment in the U.S. and Iran's death penalty, particularly the executions this year of homosexuals, teenagers, the retarded and drunks.

Nothing would please me more than if this article is used by the White House and State Department press corps to question Scott McClellan and Sean McCormick about America's state-sanctioned killings and an Australian politician calling for an end to the practice.

Thank you, Mr. Fraser, for issuing this call for a worldwide end to capital punishment.


December 5, 2005
The Australian
Fraser demands global ban on execution
By Greg Roberts

AUSTRALIA should use its influence with the US and the Commonwealth to lobby against the death penalty and implement an international protocol outlawing capital punishment, former prime minister Malcolm Fraser declared yesterday. [...]

But [current prime minister] John Howard said a diplomatic offensive against the US and other countries over the death penalty would not succeed.

"We're not going to change the attitude of countries about capital punishment," the Prime Minister said yesterday.

"I think we have to be realistic about what can be achieved."

Mr Howard said he would continue to lobby for Australians overseas on death row. "I'm against capital punishment because I recognise that the law is fallible," he said. [...]

Mr Fraser said the federal Government should tell the Bush administration of its concerns about the use of the death penalty in the US, where on the same day that Van was hanged, the 1000th prisoner since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976 was executed.

Mr Fraser said Australia should be more vocal in the forums of the Commonwealth, where capital punishment applies in many of the 53 member nations. "There are things Australia could be doing if we want to be taken more seriously on the matter," Mr Fraser told The Australian. "We have influence with the US. It could be raised in the Commonwealth as a matter of principle." [...]

For instance, recent "barbaric" executions in Iran had included the public hangings of two teenage boys for homosexual offences, a 16-year-old mentally retarded girl for sexual immorality, and a man after he was convicted a third time for drinking alcohol. [...]

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