The UCC Amnesty International Society will mark International Day against the Death Penalty with a series of mock executions. Taking place on Wednesday October 10th, the executions will form part of a campaign taking place in the amphitheatre on the Main Campus. It is the only such Cork event to be held on the day and will coincide with events hosted in Galway and Dublin and around the world.
UCC Amnesty International Society has a number of actions lined up for the day including carrying out mock executions on campus to demonstrate the denial of the right to life faced by prisoners around the world. They will also show an Amnesty produced short film outdoors to highlight how the death sentence has routinely been passed unfairly and on prisoners later discovered to be innocent throughout the world. Their aim is to educate UCC students about the ultimate deprivation of human right to life happening across the world.
Auditor of Amnesty UCC, Eilís O’Keefe, told The Express that their campaigns team want to remind students that the use of the death penalty is still widespread. “Despite the death penalty not being used in Ireland in sometime, we forget that some of the countries we consider to be “modern” and leading world economies have some of the worst records in this regard” she said. “China for instance executes more people than any other county in the world which is something people often forget”. In 2009, the Dui Hua Foundation estimated that 5,000 people were executed in China, which would be a figure greater than all other nations combined.
UCC Amnesty Society and Amnesty International are fundamentally opposed to the death penalty in all its forms. Ms. O’Keefe believes that “It’s an absolute, irreversible, degrading and dehumanising practice, regardless of the circumstances in which it is applied. Amnesty are of the opinion that the State is never justified in administering such violence regardless of what the person may have done.”
Amnesty International has recorded capital punishment in Iran for political opponents who were tortured in custody and denied access to a lawyer. In 2010 alone Amnesty International recorded death sentences being passed in Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea and United Arab Emirates following court proceedings which did not meet international fair trial standards, where the accused did not speak the language used in the courtroom and in which torture was used to obtain confessions.
“Once the Death Penalty has been administered there can be no retribution, no going back if the conviction was wrongful” Ms O’Keefe said. “Since 1973, in the US alone 130 people have been released from death rows throughout the country due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. This demonstrates people are found guilty in the wrong; had they been murdered by the state there would be no turning back” she stated.