Daily Double: Child Rape

Setting aside crimes of state such as treason or espionage, it’s safe to say that most would characterize murder as the ultimate among “ordinary” crimes and the model potential death penalty crime. It’s not the only thing people get executed for, but it’s where the conversation tends to start.

Among non-homicide crimes, rape might be the most incendiary, and the rape of a child in particular would be a strong candidate for an offense that might attract majority support for capital punishment. Indeed, the U.S. state of Louisiana recently attempted to implement just such a law; its rejection by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 was expediently condemned across the political spectrum. Presidential candidate Barack Obama, who opposed the death penalty years before he reached the national stage, proved that he’s no Michael Dukakis by condemning that court ruling:

I think that the rape of a small child, six or eight years old is a heinous crime, and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances, the death penalty is at least potentially applicable.

Given that take in the U.S., where nobody has been executed for rape since 1964, it comes as no surprise to find headlines cases of executions for child rape elsewhere in the world. Our next two days’ posts focus on two such instances.

On this day..