Which was the first country to abolish the death penalty

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,748
Australia
I remember the outcry when the last death sentence was passed in Australia in 1984, even though by that time all death sentences were automatically commuted to life imprisonment. By 1985 the last Australian state to have a death penalty (NSW) formally abolished it, and in 2010 the federal government passed legislation preventing any state or territory reinstating it.

Interestingly, until 1985 members of the Royal Australian Navy were the only Australian citizens who could still in theory be sentenced to death. This arose from an administrative quirk dating from the navy's formation in 1911 that used the British Naval Discipline Act rather than locally developed law as did the Army and Air Force. After 1985 the Defence Force Discipline Act covering all three services finally saw the old NDA scrapped.
A pity in some ways. The "Articles of War" - the first section of the Act - was required to be displayed in a prominent place in all HMA ships and establishments. The first lines read "Any Commanding Officer who fails to use his utmost exertions to bring his ship into action with the enemy shall be liable to death or any lesser punishment decided by Court Martial". It went on is similar fashion describing what would happen to anyone who let the side down. The new Act did not have quite the same style. :)
 
Last edited:
Nov 2014
1,933
Cyberspace
The last Australian citizen was executed several years ago in Singapore for drug trafficking. Drug trafficking in several south-asian countries is punished by death sentence regardless of citizenship of person who is guilty.
 
Mar 2012
18,030
In the bag of ecstatic squirt
There is nothing wrong in death penalties, people who do unpardonable crimes deserve them. Terrorists who killed scores of people deserve death penalties.
I don't think death penalty is okay because trial is not always perfect. Evidences maybe beyond reasonable eyes before the judge or the jury, but, that was because the lawyers and the witnesses were great in providing fallacy. However, in situations of self defense, like hitting terrorists in battle fields, killing of them is justified.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,748
Australia
The last Australian citizen was executed several years ago in Singapore for drug trafficking. Drug trafficking in several south-asian countries is punished by death sentence regardless of citizenship of person who is guilty.
Actually it was in Indonesia less than two years ago. However I was referring to executions carried out by Australian governments.
 

LatinoEuropa

Ad Honorem
Oct 2015
5,222
Matosinhos Portugal
Actually the death penalty was not abolished in Portugal until 1976.

Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries | Death Penalty Information Center
In Portugal Total abolition in 1976.
The last known execution in Portuguese territory was in 1846, in Lagos. It remounts to the 1 of July of 1772 the last execution of a woman, whose name was Luisa de Jesus.

The last official execution, male or female, was in 1917, during the First World War, for treason within the Portuguese army in France under Portuguese law.

Unofficially, PIDE, the political police of the Portuguese dictatorial regime known as Estado Novo, executed (deliberately or in the wake of torture) some anti-regime activists and, in a practically systematic way, the elements captured in the war against the emancipationist movements Of three Portuguese colonies (Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique) between 1961 and 1974.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
I think we abolished it only after Yugoslavia, the worst you can get in Slovenia now is 30 years. I'm generally against the death penalty although some cases make you want someone's blood for his/her deeds. Doesn't mean it's right though.
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,637
Westmorland
Have you read Oscar Wilde's marvellous long poem based on his incarceration for homosexuality (when it was a crime in Gt Britain) called ''THE BALLAD OF READING JAIL;;?
Yes indeed - it's very good, too.

The biggest weakness in the pro death penalty argument is the constant statistics produced by Amnesty INTERNATIONAL '' that shows that places like Texas which has one of the highest execution rates in the world also has the highest homicide rates so claims that the death penalty deters folks from murderng are wrong.
I agree with you. Those who favour the death penalty often have a fairly Old Testament view of retribution, but spend much less time considering why it is that crime exists in the first place. Is it because people are 'good' or 'evil' or is it because the causes of criminality are often far more complicated than people like to admit? Example used to justify the death penalty are usually very extreme ones - multiple child killers always being a favorite bogeyman, despite being extremely rare in the real world - but societies which have the death penalty are usually content to administer the ultimate punishment for far, far less. In Georgian England, you could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread. But hanging was no deterrent, because widespread and unimaginable poverty meant that risking the noose was preferable to certain death by starvation. Coming down hard on crime whilst doing nothing to address the causes of crime inevitably leads to a spiralling of both the crime rate and the severity of punishments, as though the latter could slow the former. I don't believe it works that way.


That said,back in the 1950's/60's in Brtain when the 1957 Homicide Act made the execution of cop or prison officers a mandatory death penalty offence in Britain, gangs in towns like London used to have one member shake down each gang member for weapons so that they could not use a shooter during a robbery. So there, the threat of mandatory execution did deter some criminals from using deadly weapons.
Is that really right? That sounds like the sort of reinvention of the past that Old School villains with names like 'Fingers Molloy' or 'Big Davie Two Barrels' say on TV programmes when trying to excuse or minimise their own previous criminality. Do we know for sure that the number of armed robberies dropped sharply after the introduction of the Act? And, if so, did they rise sharply again when the death penalty was finally abolished in the 60s? If the answer to both questions is 'yes', fair play. But I wouldn't personal take the word of nasty-b**tards-turned-lovable-old-rogues on this.
 

LatinoEuropa

Ad Honorem
Oct 2015
5,222
Matosinhos Portugal
Respect for the opinions of the people who are against the death penalty. But of course if any of your closest relatives were raped or murdered without further ado, they certainly wanted the death penalty at the time to which they murdered your family member.
We have a saying »pepper in the ass of the others is refreshment, I lose my Latin but it is a Portuguese saying, and we only give value when we go through it?
I who am in favor of the death penalty to these rascals who kill and rape children for pleasure etc.etc. As I am also in favor of applying the death penalty to the corrupt politicians of all countries of the world who steal both their compatriots, who live poorly in unemployment, for these parasites to have millions and millions of euros or dollars in certain foreign countries.
If only death was applied in Portugal for me it was welcome. What I see in my country to practice many murders, any day the Portuguese population does the popular justice because Portuguese laws only protect those who do evil, and it has already happened While in my country the people's justice has appeared, some people have been found dead in the Portuguese rivers, they know why they comment on crimes, the police arrest them and the judges release them, and with the death penalty in Portugal the Portuguese state saved a lot of money, a price In portugal per day costs 60 euros.
Now imagine China without the death penalty.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
Respect for the opinions of the people who are against the death penalty. But of course if any of your closest relatives were raped or murdered without further ado, they certainly wanted the death penalty at the time to which they murdered your family member.
We have a saying »pepper in the ass of the others is refreshment, I lose my Latin but it is a Portuguese saying, and we only give value when we go through it?
I who am in favor of the death penalty to these rascals who kill and rape children for pleasure etc.etc. As I am also in favor of applying the death penalty to the corrupt politicians of all countries of the world who steal both their compatriots, who live poorly in unemployment, for these parasites to have millions and millions of euros or dollars in certain foreign countries.
If only death was applied in Portugal for me it was welcome. What I see in my country to practice many murders, any day the Portuguese population does the popular justice because Portuguese laws only protect those who do evil, and it has already happened While in my country the people's justice has appeared, some people have been found dead in the Portuguese rivers, they know why they comment on crimes, the police arrest them and the judges release them, and with the death penalty in Portugal the Portuguese state saved a lot of money, a price In portugal per day costs 60 euros.
Now imagine China without the death penalty.
I understand, like you said, if someone would kill one of my beloved ones (god forbid), I would want him hanged by the rope until he dies, but that doesn't make me a good person. Blood revenge doesn't solve things. Sometimes other solutions are even more cruel than execution. If a pedophile is sent to prison and other inmates, who hate pedophiles, pick on him every day, verbally abuse him, beat him up, rape him, pick on him for many years, then this is like torture and a longer lasting process, while death is only the end, after it there is no pain, no guilt. You just are no more. Keeping someone alive with a sense of guilt for his deeds without a chance to be forgiven, that's what I'd want. But some people never feel guilty for their cruel crimes.