Time to drop ‘high-cost revenge’


Global Public Square

By Salil Shetty, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Salil Shetty is secretary general of Amnesty International. The views expressed are his own.

“If the death penalty is not a deterrent, and it is not, and if the death penalty does not make us safer, and it does not, then it is only high-cost revenge.”

These words could easily have come from me or one of my colleagues at Amnesty International. We have after all been campaigning for abolition since the 1970s because we view capital punishment as the ultimate cruel and inhuman form of punishment.

But the quote actually comes from Charles M. Harris – a senior judge in Florida, one of only nine states in the United States to carry out death sentences in 2012.

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