10 October 2019

European Day Against the Death Penalty

In 1860 the Netherlands carried out its last death sentence in peacetime. Twenty-seven-year-old Joannes Nathan was hanged at Maastricht’s market square for murdering his mother-in-law. The death penalty was banned throughout Europe in the 19th century; in 2019, only Belarus still has capital punishment. Nevertheless, Jacques Claessen, criminal lawyer from Maastricht University’s law faculty, still thinks the European Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October is important. "In China, the United States and the Middle East, among others, the death penalty is still very topical. One could also argue that life imprisonment, which we use in the Netherlands, is as horrific as the death penalty – it’s like a deferred death sentence."

By: Femke Kools