WHEN LIFE GENERATES DEATH (LEGALLY)
IS IT EFFECTIVE AGAINST TERRORISTS?
Death penalty is often demanded as a useful and necessary instrument to stem terrorism. Dynamite attacks, kidnappings, murders of public officers or politicians, hijacks, and other actions of violence with a political background often hit not only chosen targets, but also innocent people who are accidentally in that place. These events arouse indignation and public opinion asks understandably for exemplary and severe punishments, death penalty included. However, as many experts said, executions can, rather than stop terrorism, aggravate it.
Professor Ezzat A. Fattah, university teacher of criminology at Simon Fraser University in Canada, said:
English authorities that governed Palestine in the forties sentenced many members of illegal organization Zionist Irgun, accused of dynamite attacks and other violent actions, to be hanged. Menachem Begin, former Irgun leader and then Israel Prime Minister, once said to a former British governor that executions had so much "galvanized" his group, that sentenced many English soldiers to be hanged in revenge. In Begin's opinion, hangings gave them the motivations they needed and make them more combat-hardened and devoted to their cause.
Those who really think that death penalty can stop terrorist attacks or make them decrease, are naïve people or dreamers. Usual punishments, death penalty included, don't provoke any fear within terrorists or political criminals, who are ideologically motivated and devoted to sacrifice for love of their cause [...]. Besides, terrorist activities are dangerous and the terrorist faces letal risks every day, so he isn't frightened by immediate death. How could he be discouraged by the risk of being sentenced to death?
And Albert Pierrepoint, the last English executioner, said, about the execution of two members of IRA:
Throughout history, threat of death penalty never stopped terrorism or political violence. If there are men or women who are not afraid at all of capital punishment, they are just terrorist, that often risk their own life in action.
The morning of the execution both of them sang: "Long live the rebels...", they sang without fear while they went to the gallows pole. People outside don't realize these things, they say: "If they aren't afraid of death, why can capital punishment be a deterrent?". To be honest, I think that, with the many death sentences I executed, I didn't stop any murderer.