'Guildford Four case proves death penalty is wrong' says Durkan

Thu, 10/11/2011 - 21:59 -- Editor

The British government is facing fresh demands to bring back the death penalty.

A motion has been signed by David Simpson, Sammy Wilson, Jim Shannon, Gregory Campbell and Jeffrey Donaldson has called for a full debate on the matter in the Commons.

More than 23,000 people have signed a government e-petition urging the return of capital punishment, but more than 30,000 have signed a counter-motion rejecting the idea.

The death penalty was last used in Britain in 1964. Neither petition is close to the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger consideration for a Commons debate.

Commenting on the news SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan, a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Abolition of the Death Penalty (worldwide), said:

“I oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle wherever it happens in the world. There are many moral and practical arguments against capital punishment.

“Indeed, cases such as the Guildford four and Birmingham six show the real danger that innocent people could be put to death.

“The DUP, who argue that the death penalty is acceptable not only ignore this problem at home but also disregard the appalling human rights record of many states that do employ death verdicts where fair trials are often a fantasy.

“As a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Abolition of the Death Penalty we campaign to get it lifted in other countries and highlight the miscarriages of justice there too.

“The notion of a death penalty being a deterrent simply doesn’t stack up. 

“It is not only wrong but is also counterproductive.”