Rape is “monstrous,” but the death penalty is not the answer: UN Rights Chief

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Michelle Bachelet’s comment came after a Bangladeshi court sentenced five men to death Thursday (file)

Geneva, Switzerland:

Sentencing rapists to death, as Bangladesh did on Thursday, is not an appropriate punishment even for such a heinous crime, the UN chief of law said.

“As tempting as it may be to punish those who commit such monstrous acts with draconian penalties, we must not allow ourselves to commit further violations,” said Michelle Bachelet in a statement.

Her comment came after a Bangladeshi court on Thursday sentenced five men to death for raping a 15-year-old girl in 2012.

It was the first conviction since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government introduced the death penalty for rape this week.

Rape has already resulted in the death sentence, but rape by a single perpetrator has only been punished with life imprisonment.

Bachelet cited the change in the law in Bangladesh, but also called on a number of other countries to impose the death penalty for rape.

She highlighted calls in Pakistan for the public hanging and castration of rapists, as well as a law introduced in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kaduna last month that requires surgical castration followed by execution of rape cases where the victim is under 14 years old.

“The main argument in favor of the death penalty is to deter rape – but in fact there is no evidence that the death penalty is more deterrent than other forms of punishment,” said Bachelet.

“There is evidence that the certainty of the punishment, not its severity, deterred crime.”

She stressed that in most countries “the main problem is that victims of sexual violence have no access to justice at all”.

This is due to a number of factors including “stigma, fear of reprisals, entrenched gender stereotypes and power imbalances”. She stressed that handing the death penalty over to the perpetrators would not remove these obstacles.

(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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