- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006

Change in the Middle East doesn’t often happen on a grand scale. But changes — small, steady and durable — are slowly being woven into the fabric of the region.

Tuesday was the fourth annual World Day Against the Death Penalty, and several Arab countries took the opportunity to voice their concerns.

An Egyptian human rights organization called for the abolishment of the death penalty “because of Egypt’s history of unfair trials.” Many terrorism and drug-trafficking defendants are tried in front of the Emergency State Security Court without lawyers and with no possibilities of appeal.

And a Palestinian human rights group has also demanded the abolishment of the capital punishment and military courts. Again, these courts allow no appeal to a higher court and no legal counsel.

In Dubai, the UAE Human Rights Association said capital punishment “does not suit a developed society such as the UAE.”

Some disagree, and defend the death penalty as a preventative measure or fair punishment. But with so many confessions extracted by torture and with the corruption in the judiciary system, many are, at long last, openly questioning capital punishment.

The fact that the issue is being discussed is already an improvement.

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