So, it may be seen that Amnesty International has been concerned with the rights of those who face the death penalty from the very beginning.
Why Amnesty International Opposes the Death Penalty
Besides the historical concern with the plight of political prisoners as well as others who face execution, Amnesty International opposes the death penalty for the following reasons. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" (quoted in Amnesty International, 2000). As previously noted, Amnesty International views the death penalty itself as an extreme physical and mental assault on a person already in the control of government authorities and so already prevented from carrying out whatever action the government denies him or her. The cruelty of the death penalty, however, extends beyond the actual execution as the prisoner must then spend the time before execution "constantly contemplating his or her own death at the hands of the state" (Amnesty International Online, Human Rights. . ., 2002). Although the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel and inhumane or degrading punishment are the two reasons most often given by Amnesty International in opposing the death penalty, there are other rights that are compromised as well. For exampl