This man came from Rome to show Americans why the death penalty is wrong

Cosimo Bizzarri writes: Today, 105 countries around the world have abolished the death penalty by law and 43 more have approved public or de facto moratoria against it. Among them are Gabon and Mongolia, Cambodia and Russia, Albania and Kyrgyzstan. In Cuba, death row is currently empty.

Worldwide, only a few dozens countries still stick to the death penalty, opposing the 2007 UN resolution that called for a global moratorium on its use. Among them, the most prolific executioners are China, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States, which has killed more than 1,400 people since 1976. Currently, the US holds more than 3,000 people in death row, including recently-sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“Some US citizens, especially in the South, grew up with the idea that retributive justice is the only justice,” explains Italian journalist and human right activist Mario Marazziti to Quartz. “This opinion is sometimes based on a fundamentalist reading of the Old Testament.”

Marazziti, 62, is the spokeperson for the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Rome-based Catholic movement for peacemaking and human rights, and a co-founder of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. In the 1990s, Marazziti collected 3 million signatures in 157 countries calling for a worldwide moratorium against the death penalty. [Continue reading…]

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