Europe welcomes New Mexico's end to death penalty
STRASBOURG, France : Europe's human rights watchdog on Thursday hailed New Mexico's abolition of the death penalty as "a victory for civilization." Gov.
STRASBOURG, France: Europe's human rights watchdog on Thursday hailed New Mexico's abolition of the death penalty as "a victory for civilization."
Gov. Bill Richardson's enactment of a law replacing lethal injection with a sentence of life in prison without parole foreshadows the end of capital punishment across the U.S., said Terry Davis, the secretary general of the 47-nation Council of Europe.
He called it a "courageous decision," adding, "14 U.S. states have abolished the death penalty, and several others are considering it. The tide is turning and the end of this cruel and inhuman form of punishment in the United States is only a matter of time."
As guardian of the European Human Rights Convention, the Council of Europe is the continent's primary human rights watchdog. It has long spearheaded European appeals to countries beyond Europe's borders — especially the U.S. — to ban capital punishment.
All European nations have banned or suspended capital punishment.
Since 1933, New Mexico has executed nine men — seven by electrocution, one by gas, one by lethal injection.
The state's life-without-parole sentence applies to crimes committed as of July 1.