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6 The Decline Of Capital Punishment

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the interplay between religion, human rights and the death penalty. It discusses the Biblical, Talmudic and Quranic sources on the death penalty as well as modern-day legal theories. Its aim is to demonstrate that, whilst the death penalty seems to be firmly rooted in religious canonical texts, most religious traditions within the Abrahamic faiths do not lend themselves in modern jurisdictions to an easy one-sided interpretation favouring the application of capital punishment. The chapter deals with the case of Eichmann and addresses the question of how justice could be administered in the face of unspeakable crimes against humanity. Islamic philosophy holds that a harsh punishment serves as a deterrent to serious crimes that harm individual victims, or threaten to destabilize the foundation of society.

Keywords: capital punishment; death penalty; human rights; Islamic philosophy; modern jurisdictions

10.1163/ej.9789004174153.i-232.34
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