Death penalty in the USA

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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has decided to undertake investigations into States that continue to apply death penalty. The FIDH believes the application of death penalty is contrary to human dignity, set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

An initial international investigation commission, consisting of six experts from four different countries (Britain, France, Egypt and South Africa) travelled to the UNITED STATES from April 10-20, 2001, notably in New York, Washington, Illinois and Texas, to examine the conditions in which the persons sentenced to death were judged, detained and executed, and the reasons why the Governor of Illinois declared a moratorium on the executions.

The report indicates that most of the people sentenced to capital punishment, especially the poor and indigent, did not benefit from a fair trial, and that the conditions of detention - which is very long - constitute "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments". Furthermore, the FIDH fears that the possible moratoriums on the executions considered by several States only aims at improving the criminal procedures prior to the executions.

However, the FIDH notes the recent and increasing success of abolitionist movements in the US and demands that the Supreme Court judges, the only authority entitled to impose abolition to all the States, definitively declare this punishment unconstitutional.

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