To escape the death penalty: be rich and kill a foreigner


on 24 February 2010

Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre, highlighted the specificity of the Golf Region: “Between 25% and 80% of the population in our countries is from Africa and Asia, they come to work.” In Saudi Arabia, where immigrants represent 30% of the population, 50% of executions are of prisoners of immigrant origin. “The population is vulnerable as often immigrants do not have an embassy to help them in their country of residence. When there is an embassy, for fear of displeasing the rich Golf countries, it suppresses the story,” he explained.In these conditions, how is it possible to defend oneself with no political support, no money, in a foreign language and without legal guidance?
“Money can buy immunity”

“Money can buy immunity; torture and the death penalty are for the poor,” confirmed Kamran Arif, a lawyer in Pakistan, where a third of all men and women sentenced to death in the world are found.In the United States, the defence of a sentenced person is also linked to financial resources but not only: ethnic origin also plays a primordial role. Recently carried out studies revealed that the risk of being sentenced to death increase by 50% if the victim is white.Michael Radelet, professor at the University of Colorado studied 16,000 death sentence cases and discovered that the victim was black in only 30 cases. “Even more that the race of the defendant, it’s the race of the victim that counts.”Nabeel Rajab explained that this disturbing fact also holds true in Bahrain. It was left to Michael Radelet to conclude in the face of such injustice: “the more people are informed about the death penalty, the more they oppose it”.
Roundtable on wednesday february 24Racial, ethnic, and social bias in the death penalty.

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