UN: Trump administration ‘rolling back progress’ with death penalty decision

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A United Nations human rights spokesman expressed concerns on Tuesday about the Department of Justice’s decision to resume federal executions, saying it was “rolling back progress.”

“It’s also based on the unacceptable risk of executing innocent people,” Rupert Colville said at a news briefing, according to Reuters.

{mosads}“And there have been reports in the United States showing, using DNA evidence, etc., that innocent people have been executed there,” he added.

Colville reportedly said there is no indication the death penalty serves as a deterrent, noting that 25 U.S. states and 170 of 194 U.N. members have eliminated capital punishment.

“I would also note that the decision by the U.S. attorney general very much goes against the trends in the United States as a whole, as well as against the international trend,” he said, according to Reuters.

Attorney General William Barr last week published a list of five inmates scheduled to be executed, all of whom were convicted in the murders of children. The first of the executions is scheduled for Dec. 5.

The U.S. government has not executed anyone since 2003, but there are currently 52 federal inmates on death row, including Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The Justice Department’s announcement last week drew swift condemnation from several Democratic presidential candidates who noted the history of racial and class disparities in how the death penalty is applied.

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