Capital punishment is when a person is executed as a punishment for a specific crime after a proper legal trial.
It is usually only used as a punishment for serious types of murder, but in some countries treason, types of fraud, adultery and rape are capital crimes.
By May 2012, 141 countries had abolished the death penalty either in law or in practice.
China executes the most people per year overall, with an estimated figure of 1,718 in 2008. Amnesty International also states that in 2008 Iran executed at least 346 people, the USA 111, Saudi Arabia 102 and Pakistan 36.
Argument for capital punishment
Some people argue that real justice needs people to suffer for their wrongdoing in a way that is appropriate for the crime – for example, they believe that of a murderer deserves death.
However, some people suggest that capital punishment is vengeance rather than retribution and, as such, is wrong.
Capital punishment is often justified with the argument that executing convicted murderers will deter potential murderers from killing people.
However, there is not a lot of evidence to suggest that capital punishment deters people from committing a crime.
Argument against capital punishment
1) Right to live
Everyone has a right to life, even those who commit murder; sentencing a person to death and executing them destroys that right.
The counter-argument is that a person can, by their actions, forfeit human rights, and that murderers forfeit their right to life.
2) Execution of the innocent
The most common and…