Religious Morality and Discrimination

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Death penalty: is capital punishment morally justified?

Undeniably, religion protects our families and our society by promoting strong morals. Banishing religious values from the government or stifling the free practice of religion would be catastrophic.

Religiously unaffiliated Hispanics are the only religious group more likely to believe that abortion is morally acceptable than morally wrong (20% vs.

What are the arguments for and against the death penalty and do ..

Foreign nationals are at particular risk of execution for capital crimes. The first factor driving the situation is that foreign nationals are not familiar with Saudi judicial processes, and the government may make little or no effort to inform them or provide them with interpreters when necessary so that they can understand proceedings and the charges against them. This dynamic is exacerbated in cases involving a private criminal action for diyat (blood money) or qisas (the religiously stipulated retributive death penalty) against an individual who has caused the death of kin. Foreign workers are likely to be poor and thus face qisas (unless their governments or some organization can fund a pardon, or the family grants a free pardon); additionally, Arab groups that intercede for offenders by bringing influential personages to bear on issues may be less likely to intercede for non-Saudis. Foreign workers are more than 7 times as likely to be executed as Saudis are. Individuals from Europe and North America are very unlikely to be executed compared to individuals from other areas of the world. It is possible that, to some extent, domestic workers are not fully aware of the proper approach to the sulah process (substitution of diya for qisas).

Human Rights Watch has published a report on the Ismailis in southern Saudi Arabia, reporting on one incident in which a number of Ismailis were sentenced to death and a practice of religious discrimination against Ismailis that can result in application of the death penalty. While the King has generally been fairly involved in pardoning Ismailis sentenced to death, on occasion he seems unable to because the sentence of death has been pronounced as hadd.

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There may be cases and certainly are judge-driven academic discussions about cases that are at least somewhat elucidating application of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. These discussions establish that there is some disagreement as to whether the death penalty is religiously stipulated (hadd) or discretionary (tazir) for apostasy, recidivist alcohol or cannabis use and theft, and rebellion or corruption on earth (although these are most likely treated as tazir). They also suggest that anti-drug law may be applied expansively, protections for the intellectually disabled or mentally ill are probably limited.

FACT stands for the America envisioned by our Founders: a land built upon the foundation of religion and morality.


The American Death Penalty | Issue 30 | Philosophy Now

Mentally Ill.
Saudi courts appear to recognize that under limited circumstances, a person who does not have mental awareness of the consequences of his acts is not criminally responsible beyond payment of compensation. Those who are aware of the bad consequences of their acts but unable to control their behavior due to insanity might not be excepted from hadd (mandatory) or qisas punishments but can be excepted from tazir (discretionary) punishments. Those who are insane but could be argued to have the ability to control their actions might not be excused from punishment. The extent to which an individual’s judgment is compromised by his mental illness is a question that is left to the courts to determine, and not all individuals with mental illnesses are excluded from the death penalty. One judge, for example, recently wrote about his decision to sentence a man with a schizophrenic disorder to death as qisas for murder (focusing somewhat on the interaction of self-medication attempts with the individual’s illness).

Is the Death Penalty Ethical? | NewsActivist

In its first set of Concluding Observations issued for Indonesia in July 2013, the Committee regretted that executions had resumed and that death sentences were imposed for drug offenses, which do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” under Article 6 of the ICCPR. The Committee recommended not only that Indonesia amend its legislation so that narcotics-related offenses are not punishable by death, but also that Indonesia commute all the death sentences it had imposed for drug offenses. The Committee also advised Indonesia to reinstate a de facto moratorium on execution and to consider abolishing the death penalty.

Death Penalty | Death Penalty Issues | CIP

In the U.N. Committee Against Torture’s 2008 Concluding Observations, the Committee expressed concern that suspects are subjected to prolonged police custody for up to 61 days, denied access to attorneys in pre-trial stages and routinely tortured to extract confessions and information. Additionally, there was no systematic registration of or record-keeping on detainees and detention, and no effective legal restriction against the use of forced confessions. In fact, forced confessions were routinely relied upon as evidence during trial. These problems were particularly serious in the province of Aceh, where the Wilayatul Hisbah (“morality police”) exercised a poorly defined and supervised jurisdiction and did not presume the innocence of the accused; recent law enabling capital punishment for morality offenses places individuals (especially women) in Aceh in even greater jeopardy. Other reports also suggest grave inadequacies in Indonesia’s protection of the right to a fair trial, including access to counsel at all stages of a criminal investigation, the presumption of innocence, and protections against torture and self-incrimination or forced, false confessions.

In addition to the national justice system in place, a parallel court system in the region of Aceh utilizes Shariah law instead of the Indonesian Criminal Code. Nineteen district religious courts and one court of appeals hear cases involving Muslims. Trials were generally closed to the public, and defendants often were not supplied with legal representation despite their rights.