Bring back the death penalty, NOW!


Following the horrid murder of two children in Constantine earlier this month, there have been protests calling for the application of the death penalty in cases of proven murder. Many people felt very angry about the current situation wherein most criminals are released during the Presidential Grace period which occurs every year. Many Algerians now understand human rights as meaning criminal rights or the right of criminals to kill, assault and steal and get 5 star treatment, or indeed get away with it! This is because the human rights cabal always comes out in force whenever a monstrous crime like the one mentioned above shakes the public opinion and brings the application of the death penalty back onto the discussion table.

For information, death penalty is still given by judges as a sentence but its actual application has been suspended since 1993 (during the civil war period). Recently, Farouk Ksentini, chairman of the National Advisory Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (CNCPPDH), argued that if we were to execute child rapists and murderers like the nasty specimen who willingly caused the death of two innocent children, then that would mean that we will need to execute all the people who committed murders during the civil war and who were forgiven in the civil concord programme which the government pursued in order to reinstate peace. I don’t understand why that would be so as from my understanding, people who committed murders during the civil war were not elligible for the civil concord grace arrangements. Of course, we hear all the time about known terrorists (having committed actual murders and rapes) and who still benefitted from the material advantages pf the civil concord programme but who knows anyway. Things were so scrambled back then that it was pretty hard to pinpoint who was who or done what.

But things are different for this case. The murderers are known and this is not their first rape, neighbors have testified that they are known pedophiles who have engaged in child molestation and even rape before. How can this case be compared to the civil war anarchy? Farouk Ksentini came back later to say that it could be conceivable that the death penalty be applied in such cases, but that was because the public opinion was positively boiling. Many representatives of the government (including Imams) and other institutions felt that they ought to be pacifying the crowds. But that only shows that human rights advocates in Algeria are only parroting vacuous words which they are quite willing to change under pressure from public opinion. I mean, if Mr. Ksentini really believed in human rights and the abolutionist stance towards the death penalty, he shouldn’t have changed his opinion so easily.

I am for the execution of murderers, not just child murderers but all murderers. It is a question of principle and I am for the principle of retaliation. I am conscious of all the arguments against the death penalty and I frankly find them all silly and merely missing the wood for the trees. It is not about preventing further murders as as long as Man will inhabit the Earth, there will be murders, it is about a very simple principle, whoever kills willingly should be killed. All the bla bla about human justice not being perfect is just irrelevant.

8 thoughts on “Bring back the death penalty, NOW!

  1. First thing on Mr. Ksentini. Just like Rezzag Bara, he works for a governmental institution and one should therefore not expect him to voice his beliefs. I agree he could at least be consistent for the sake of his position but who is consistent in the government?!

    Some months ago, after the murder of little girls Soundous and Chaima, I watched a debate on Ennahar or Echourouk TV between Bouchachi (former chairman of the LADDH, which is now split into two like all Algerian organisations) and Ath Adjlet, unless it was Gaher, from the Ulemas. One argued that Islam says the rulers must apply the death penalty for murder and this sentence would be a good deterrent. Bouchachi insisted on the fact it was not as proven elsewhere in the world where it is applied, and also that applying the death penalty would be like giving the green light to the government to further its oppression. He argued that murder is one among many reasons leading to death penalty in Algerian law, and a majority of these reasons are actually related to state security, spying, disorder, etc. (i.e. political reasons). The last argument, which we hear often, is the cases where one can be 100% sure the suspect is guilty are very rare, and if one gives several chances to the suspect to prove his/her innocence, this death penalty would be applied decades after the murder on a potentially then different man/woman.

    On this question, I believe it doesn’t make sense to try to debate and find a consensus. I think what you express in your last paragraph is exactly what it is. Leaving aside those who are directly affected (victim’s family, etc.) the rest will just hold to their opinion regardless of what arguments they may face (it seems the economic arguments is working to some extent in the US).

    This shouldn’t stop us from working on another question where discussion, debate, research and political action is possible. What is going wrong in our society and how to fix it?

    • Well, the argument that the death penalty never stopped murders is a strawman! The objective is not to stop murders as they will never stop but it is a question of principle, why focus on cases where the culprit is not known and forget that in many cases, the murderer is known. Add to that the fact that there are murderers who have got a life sentence but were released 8 years after!!! The message am getting from modern societies is that criminals have the right to kill and get away with it. A death penalty is barbaric but a murderer who kills, sometimes many times, and gets away with it is not.

      • British ambassador to Algeria tweeted this today “Meeting Minister of Justice to discuss cooperation – prison reform, training magistrates, community sentencing, anglo-saxon law #Algeria”
        Wonder if this topic was covered during their meeting?

  2. It’s about the death penalty cost. Activists against this penalty in the US now use this argument which seems more effective than saying the penalty doesn’t stop murder, etc. Cf. here and here. People may be more interested if they hear “Every time a killer is sentenced to die, a school closes”.

    • Yeah right! That argument also works for releasing killers after a few years from a supposed life sentence – it’s just too costly to keep prisons running or build new ones to accommodate the ever growing numbers of killers.

    • How about just giving them a light slap on the wrist. Thats quite cheap. Maybe the Chinese can manufacture a wrist slapping machine to save on human wrist slappers.

      OR we can serve justice, since no price is too high for justice, if you are, for example, the mother or father of a child who has been murdered.

      • Ridiculous isn’t it Moha. Personally, I do acknowledge how important economic considerations are and their effect on changing cultural outlooks, but I do not believe economics should rule everything. This is where the West has really muddled up.

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