On January 29, 2014, for The Voice of Russia—
“Struggling to find drug supplies for lethal injections the American states that still have death penalty are mulling other methods of execution. The states’ authorities are considering a wider use of electrocution or gasing instead of lethal injections. Sergei Nikitin, the head of Amnesty International Russia told the Voice of Russia that death penalty in all cases “is absolutely an ultimate violation of human rights.”
What do you think, is it actually correct to think about whether one method of capital punishment is more humane than the other? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
No way. Amnesty International is against the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or methods. So, we are not going to into the discussions like what methods would be more humane and what less. No, we are strictly against it.
Alright, I see your position and I completely agree to it personally, if my opinion matters on this show. But at the same time, do you think it is possible that we will sooner or later be living in the world without capital punishment?
I strongly believe it will happen. You see, if we are talking about things like slavery, which was quite an acceptable thing in the 19th century, it is no longer acceptable. I mean, it still exists in some places, but it is going to die out and it is not accepted by the civilized society. So, the same thing is going to happen to death penalty. That’s why I strongly believe it and the tendency in the world shows that things are changing.
So, basically, the death penalty is a violation of human rights, is that what you are saying?
It is absolutely an ultimate violation of human rights.
Then, how come the US, which has been a policeman for the respect of human rights globally, still practices the death penalty and practices it with pride?
To be precise not all 50 states have executions. We are aware of about 34 states, if I remember it correctly. And we also know that for some time in the US there was no death penalty, but, unfortunately, there was a decision to come back to it.
So, this is something to criticize for by the human rights organizations, Amnesty International including. And this is what we’ve been doing for a long time. I would say that there is no country in the world where human rights are not violated. It is just the question of how much and at what scale.
So, the US apart from the death penalty has another problem – the situation with the prisoners. We are also talking about the Guantanamo Prison, which we demand to close down. So, there is now country where we would say – there are no human rights violations at all. This is just the nature of the world.”
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