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The Battalion

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EU leaders oppose death penalty

Jordan Steiker, Cooper H. Regents Professor in Law of the University of Texas, predicted the future demise of capital punishment at The Eye For An Eye Death Penalty Symposium, which presented historical aspects of the death penalty from viewpoints of representatives of Hungary, France and Texas.
The symposium, presented by the European Union Center and the Aggie International Ambassadors, was held at the George Bush Presidential Library Conference Center.
Ben Crouch, executive associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, opened the forum with questions about the death penalty. Crouch said people have a “morbid fascination” with the death penalty.
“If the trend of only regional enforcement of the death penalty continues, it is only a matter of time before the (U.S.) Supreme Court steps in and abolishes it again,” Steiker said.
Steiker said the southern United States sentences criminals to death and carries it out, while other states that sentence inmates to death do not.
Szabolcs Kerek-Barczy, consul general of Hungary, depicted the abuses of the death penalty in Hungary under the former Communist regime.
“I found it interesting that even after the Communists lost power, their victims were not bloodthirsty for revenge,” Kerek-Barczy said.
Kerek-Barczy said capital punishment is more of a moral issue than a political one.
The last speaker to address the audience, Dennis Simonneau, consul general of France in Houston, said all members of the European Union have legislation to abolish the death penalty in their countries.
“I know of no solid evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime,” Simonneau said.
David Elizondo, a sophomore in the European Center certificate program, said he attended the event for a class project and enjoyed the program.
“I think that the most interesting aspect of this evening was the history of the death penalty,” Elizondo said. “I want to use my certificate to get a degree in political science.”
Questions from the audience included concerns regarding the extradition of suspected criminals from European Union countries to the United States when the suspect could receive the death penalty. Simonneau said that at this time, all European Union countries are, for the most part, against extradition.
“If it were up to me, I would be against (extradition),” Simonneau said.

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