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EU urges moratorium on Texas death penalty as 400th execution nears

[JURIST] The European Union (EU) [official website] on Tuesday urged Texas Gov. Rick Perry [official website] to halt all executions in the state [statement], and to consider introducing a moratorium on death sentences in Texas. According to the statement from Portugal, acting as current Presidency of the EU:

The European Union is unreservedly opposed to the use of capital punishment under all circumstances and has consistently called for the universal abolition of this punishment. We believe that elimination of the death penalty is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights. We further consider this punishment to be cruel and inhumane. There is no evidence to suggest that the use of the death penalty serves as a deterrent against violent crime and the irreversibility of the punishment means that miscarriages of justice - which are inevitable in all legal systems – cannot be redressed. Consequently, the death penalty has been abolished throughout the European Union. ...

the European Union welcomes the United States Supreme Court rulings of June 2002 and March 2005 declaring the execution of persons with mental retardation and the execution of juveniles respectively, to be unconstitutional. The European Union urges the US authorities to extend these restrictions, in particular, to the execution of persons with severe mental illness.
The EU's call for Texas to halt capital punishment [JURIST news archive] comes ahead of the state's planned execution of Johnny Ray Conner [CCADP profile] on Wednesday, which will bring Texas state executions to a total of 400 since reinstatement of the death penalty by the US Supreme Court in 1976. Collectively, the US has executed more than 1,000 people since then, with Texas leading the nation in total numbers. Reuters has more.

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