This is the text of a letter sent to the Salisbury Journal but which was not published:
The Salisbury Group of Amnesty International is campaigning to end the use of the death penalty around the world. Of particular concern to the local group is its use in countries like Iran to execute juveniles.As the report recently published by Amnesty shows, around the world at least 1,634 people were executed last year, a 54% increase on the previous year. This excludes China where the numbers are a state secret.Frequently, after a high-profile murder or terrorist action in this country, someone will call for the death penalty to be re-introduced. When emotions run high it’s almost understandable, but it would be a mistake. The Amnesty report shows how in nearly every country where they still apply capital punishment, trials are grossly unfair, defendants are mistreated in prison, and legal representation is shockingly poor. In the USA, defence lawyers have fallen asleep during trials. In Iran, hearings may last only ten minutes. In China, where torture is rife, thousands are executed. This is not a club we want to join.Further details can be seen on the Group’s web site http://www.salisburyai.com/ and we would welcome anyone who would like to join us in our campaign to end the practice of the execution of juveniles in Iran.