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Text 7. Capital Punishment
I. Read and translate the text.
Capital punishment is a legal killing of the criminal who is sentenced to death. It is a punishment for grave offences, such as murder, rape, treason and others. Criminals are put to death through shooting, hanging, poisoning and other means of execution. Some people support capital punishment, others are against it. Those who are against capital punishment say that it is not more effective than life imprisonment. They also say that suspension of capital punishment does not affect the crime rate. One more argument of the opponents of capital punishment is that sometimes people are sentenced and killed wrongly. For example, innocent people are tried and sentenced to death for the crimes committed by serial murderers. People who are accused wrongly are often executed before the real murderers are found. Yet, the number of the defendants of capital punishment is growing. They believe that capital punishment can prevent a murderer from committing a crime. Crime is on the rise in large cities, and people are in need of effective means of crime prevention. So, debates about capital punishment are still going on.
In England, capital punishment was abolished in the XX century. In Russia, it was suspended in 1993. There is no capital punishment in Europe, but it is practiced in most states of America. The death penalty was suspended in the USA in 1972, but it was resumed in 1976. Less than a half of the countries in the world practice capital punishment. Yet, only 30% of the population lives in countries free of capital punishment. The death penalty is used mainly in Asian and Eastern countries. The leaders are China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, but the USA is also among the first 5 countries of the world as to the annual number of executions. Two thirds of all American death sentences are executed in the state of Texas.
II. Questions to be answered.
1. What is capital punishment?
2. What offences is capital punishment imposed for?
3. What is the attitude of people to capital punishment?
4. What are the arguments of the supporters of capital punishment?
5. What are the arguments of the opponents?
6. Why do many people living in large cities support capital punishment?
7. What is the attitude to capital punishment in different countries of the world?
Lesson 4. The Rights of an Accused Person. Trial
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