Stop the Killing, Fast!

The Supreme Court upheld the death penalty in June, but that didn’t deter the Abolitionist Action Committee from holding its sixth annual Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty—with the theme "Starvin’ for Justice ‘99"—from June 29 to July 2. On June 29, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court told the states to rewrite their laws on the death penalty, reducing death sentences to life in prison for more than 600 people. On July 2 four years later, the court effectively allowed executions to resume. The fast and vigil were held in recognition of this history, and took place on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court building.

Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty in June as a part of its ratification of the European Convention for the Protection of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The 73-2 vote came after the Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled that capital punishment was unconstitutional as a violation of human rights.

According to Amnesty International’s 1998 statistics, the United States remains in the top five of countries with executions, after China and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Iran and Iraq are believed to have had more than the United States when unconfirmed executions are included.

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