Letter: Stop this inhumanity

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Sir: Any principled opposition to the death penalty would have to acknowledge that no judicial killing can be free from cruelty and inhumanity ("Grisly deaths may kill off electric chair," 20 July).

What wasn't made clear in this regard was that the Pope's 1998 Christmas message called for an end to the use of all forms of the death penalty and not just electric chairs.

Moreover, contrary to the suggestion that opponents of the death penalty fear a move to lethal injection on the basis that this will diminish public support for abolition, greater public knowledge of the grotesque manner of death by lethal injection would only add to the campaign for abolition.

There have been many botched executions by lethal injection. In July 1996, Luis M Mata had a needle in his arm for 70 minutes while his case was argued in the Arizona Supreme Court. He lost. We all lose through the continuation of judicial execution.


Director of Communications

Amnesty International

London EC1