The sentences for capital crimes are becoming more severe, among which what happened with the case of the children Ruth and José Bretón who were burned to death in their father’s own farm.
He will continue to be in prison. There, he will be the object of “periodical revisions” in order to prove that he will be able to re-integrate into society and will not commit that same type of crime ever again. This does not mean, however, that he was sentenced to life imprisonment subject to revision.
An extension in prison, if there is no guarantee that the prisoner will return to society without any problems, would nevertheless correspond to life imprisonment.
Moreover, the assassin Anders Behring Breivik is not angry nor suffered from a temporary mental rapture. He killed 77 young people in cold blood at Oslo and in the island of Utoya. Norway has an inflexible criminal system which has supplied itself with adequate legal and repressive instruments under rigorous judicial control.
This multiple homicide, conspirator, and blood thirsty assassin was given the maximum sentence of 21 renewable years in prison, which can also be understood as life imprisonment. According to Norwegian legislation, after serving the sentence, the tribunals can extend the sentence every five years in an indefinite manner if they retain that the prisoner is still a threat to society.
Murderer and rapist José Franco de la Cruz was released from prison after serving 21 years of his sentence. Within months of his release, he was rearrested by the police for an alleged sexual assault of a homeless girl. Repeat offenders should be banned from society; their sentence should be life imprisonment.
Moreover, the U.S. and China lead the ranking of countries with more death sentences. According Amnesty International, over 2,000 people were executed in death row in 22 countries and more than 5,000 people were prosecuted.
In the past 25 years, the number of countries who sentenced the condemned to the death penalty has declined by 50%. Mexico and Liberia are the countries that recently have eliminated the death penalty from its legislation.
Critics assert that the death penalty is inhumane and turns the Government into an executor, preventing the repair of judicial slips that can be beyond repair.
Finally, the UN Human Rights Commission ratified a resolution asking countries to ban the death penalty, and to protect the dignity and inalienable rights of every human person at every moment of his or her existence from conception till natural death. (Translated by Gianna A. Sanchez Moretti).
Author and journalist Clemente Ferrer has led a distinguished career in Spain in the fields of publicity and press relations. He is currently President of the European Institute of Marketing.