Executions don't heal | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Executions don't heal

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In response to the letter from Anthony Burnette in Friday's ''PostBag'', ''Killers deserve no pity'', yes, the victims of murder do have the right to life. However, the opinions expressed by Jose Ramos-Horta against capital punishment in his piece published by the Post last Wednesday cannot be construed as denying this right. Those who propose that capital punishment is not a solution for crime also believe that death cannot undo murder nor serve as a real reparation for the bereaved. 

In a talk given recently in Bangkok, Toshi Kazama, Asia programme director of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, described his work with the families of murder victims. He says that in their initial anger and hurt, family members generally favour the execution of the murderer. However, in his long work with the families, he has observed the gradual realisation that the death of the murderer won't lessen their grief. Over time they discover that healing comes with pardon and acceptance. The punishment, but also the rehabilitation, of the perpetrators of violence are essential.

Mr Kazama is not just a spectator of grief, he speaks from experience, as he was the victim of a vicious attack which left him in a coma and which many years later still affects his health.

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