10. October 2023: World Day against the Death Penalty
Death Penalty – An Irreversible Torture
On 10.10.2023 the 21st World Day against the Death Penalty is again dedicated to the focus on TORTURE,
… because confessions are sometimes forced through physical or psychological torture,
… Prison conditions on death row are often tantamount to psychological torture,
… Members of the perpetrators suffer trauma through executions or even last-minute postponements,
… the stress of killing a person by execution sometimes leads to occupational disability,
… Victims’ relatives repeatedly relive the trauma of the act – in some cases, executions are carried out against their expressed will …
HörBar of the German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
On the occasion of the World Day against the Death Penalty on October 10, 2023, the German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty opens its new “HörBar” – members of the association speak texts, mainly – but not exclusively – by death row inmates in the USA.
(“HörBar” is a play on words in German. “Hörbar” as a whole word means audible, “hören” is the verb for listen and a “Bar” is a pub. – Please note that the contributions in our “HörBar” are only in German language so far.)
From the beginning of the month until mid-October, a new contribution will be published every day on the Youtube channel of the German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty as well as its other social media:
More information about the World Day against the Death Penalty:
- Facts and Figures: Torture and the Death Penalty
- Detailed Factsheet: Death Penalty: An Irreversible Torture
- Testimonies: Torture and the Death Penalty
- Leaflet: Torture and the Death Penalty
- Facts and Figures: LGBTQIA People and the Death Penalty
- Facts and Figures: Women and the Death Penalty
Death Penalty – Torture for the Perpetrator’s Relatives
The death penalty only creates new suffering. Experience shows that in most cases the relatives of the victims unfortunately do not find peace through the execution of the perpetrator. Instead, suffering and pain is inflicted on another family – the relatives of the perpetrator. Several times on the day of an execution, I looked into the faces of those whose father, brother, son had their lives taken away by state violence. I witnessed their despair, saw the abysmal horror in their eyes.
I will never forget how the son of a perpetrator almost collapsed, writhing as if in serious pain in his despair, barely two hours later having to witness the intentional and deliberate killing of his father. It was heartbreaking. The young man had lost his mother to the crime as a young child of just two years old, because it was a family drama, and now, a good 20 years later, his father was taken from him as well.
“Can’t we ask the governor, if I can hug my father at least once?”, he had asked a few days earlier with almost childlike naiveté. All these years he had only ever seen his father on death row through a pane of glass. The son was allowed to touch his father for the first time only when he lay dead on a stretcher, after being legally executed by the state.
No one gained anything from the violent killing of the father by state sanctioned execution, nor did it make the world a bit better. The death penalty only created more hurt and grief – a trauma that will accompany the perpetrator’s relatives for the rest of their lives.
Gabi Uhl – German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty