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Death penalty is unacceptable. Federal executions in the US must be stopped


18 Dec 2020



The Socialists and Democrats denounce and condemn with the strongest words the resumption by the United States of the executions at the federal level of prisoners on death row.

After a hiatus of 17 years, president Trump decided to resume this suspended practice now, during the transition period before the inauguration of president-elect Biden on the 20th January. This unprecedented action must be stopped.

S&D president Iratxe García said:

“We, Socialists and Democrats, reaffirm our strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and call for the universal abolition of the capital punishment. Perpetrators of crimes must be held accountable. However, the experience of countries that defend this brutal tool has shown that the death penalty does not contribute to a safer society. On the contrary, death penalty as a punishment perpetuates a cycle of violence. The recent decision by president Trump is an act of cruelty.  We encourage the new Administration to support the pertinent UN resolutions on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.”

MEP Isabel Santos, S&D spokesperson on human rights, added: 

“This year has seen the highest number of executions since 1896. This is shameful. Allowing it to continue for the first weeks of 2021, as there are 3 more executions scheduled before the new president takes office, is something unprecedented and is completely unacceptable.”

“The death penalty does not deter crime and is irreversible. I have always been a very vocal supporter of abolishing it worldwide, not only for these reasons but also because the death penalty is often used as a political weapon and can be very discriminatory against minorities and the poorer classes.”

Note to editors:

The S&Ds have been supporting the end of the death penalty through several votes in the European Parliament and by supporting the many instruments of the international community against it, like the Protocol N° 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty, and Protocol N° 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, among others.