Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 344

Death penalty in Turkey – Illusions in Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 Mag 2017

Albert Camus and Adnan Menderes1Albert Camus and Adnan MenderesWhat is the future of the EU-Turkey relationship? In two new ESI papers we suggest how to reform a dysfunctional accession process; and when to bring it to an end. We seek to dispel illusions, restore clarity and propose ways how the European Union and the Council of Europe might better protect fundamental human rights.
In his essay “Reflections on the Guillotine” in 1957 French writer Albert Camus takes an uncompromising position against the death penalty, writing that: “A man is destroyed by the wait for death long before he really dies.” At the time Camus’ native French Algeria was in the throes of a ferocious conflict. Routine torture, summary executions of captured prisoners, mass internment and the use of the death penalty characterised the French counter-insurgency strategy. Military tribunals in French Algeria rendered almost 1,500 death sentences between 1954 and 1962. Of these, 198 were carried out. After 1957 all lawyers who used to defend Algerian rebels were arrested or put under house arrest; several were suspended, two murdered.When the European Convention on Human Rights was adopted in Rome in 1950, it explicitly recognised the legality of capital punishment. It did not limit the crimes which could be punished in this way. This created a huge gap for human rights protection, which had terrible consequences. In 1957, the year Camus wrote his essay, Evaghoras Pallikarides, aged 19, was hanged in the British Crown Colony Cyprus. “The offence for which he was executed was that of possessing a weapon. It was a light machine gun, and it was not in a serviceable condition at the time he was apprehended.” This was not an isolated incident. The UK had proclaimed a state of emergency in Cyprus in November 1955, resorted to mass detention without trial, vastly extended the use of the death penalty, imposed draconian censorship laws and enacted extensive powers to requisition property.Cyprus did not remain under British control, and spiralled into further violence soon. France lost Algeria and left behind untold bitterness. The recent history of European powers dealing with colonial insurgencies is a record of immense human rights abuses and abysmal policy failures. It is a reminder of how tempting it has been, even for democratic leaders faced with violence, to resort to repression, intimidation and the use of extreme measures. And how badly this has ended.

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