Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2010-10-06-Speech-3-031"

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"Madam President, the annual anti-death penalty resolution really is a very impressive example of how much the EU is doing and has done in the struggle to get the death penalty abolished worldwide. Granted, there are still too many executions – a great many executions – as the representative of the Commission Vice-President has stated. We should not forget, however, that the global fight against the death penalty is a success story. There are now only 43 countries that impose the death penalty. At international level, the EU is one of the most important active players driving this fight forward and also including it in all bilateral relationships, and we cannot afford to scale back our efforts. Perhaps we should give some consideration to acting in a more targeted way, because different countries and different governments are structured differently and we may need to apply differentiated strategies. It will be different in Japan, where top politicians are fighting elections and use the death penalty as often as possible. We need a different strategy there to the one we adopt in Iran or Belarus. We may have to proceed one step at a time; for example, by narrowing the circle of those on whom the death penalty may be imposed so as to exclude minors and those with learning difficulties, or by limiting the range of crimes for which the death penalty may be imposed. In China, for example, people can still be executed for what is purely a crime against property. These could be steps along the way to our real goal, which is to abolish the death penalty completely. The EU needs to be somewhat more sophisticated in its approach. What we cannot do, on any account, even if we take a different approach with different countries, is apply different standards and make different demands of those countries that still have the death penalty. This year’s anti-death penalty resolution has a particular focus, which is the US. As an example, I would like to present one case to you here. This is the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row for over 20 years. He is not rich, he is an African American, and at the time of the offence, he was a journalist whose thoughts and writings were politically radical. Justified doubts and shortcomings have been brought to light concerning his trial. In this case, I am asking the EU to do everything it can and to use every means at its disposal to ensure that the death penalty is not enforced and that he gets a fair trial."@en1

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