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Even in Japan, one of the world's richest nations, the relationship between poverty and death sentences can be seen in the high number of the 100 or so on death row who cannot afford their own defence and needed court-appointed lawyers, according to IPS correspondent Matsuko Murakami. |
"Most of the death row prisoners have no choice but to have such court-appointed defence counsels," Akiko Takada, a leading member of Forum 90, an anti-death penalty rights organisation, told Murakami.
In Malaysia, it is estimated that nearly 90 percent of the 300 people on death row are poor, according to Charles Hector, a h u m a n r i g h t s lawyer interviewed by IPS correspondent Baradan Kuppusamy.
In the U.S., 95 percent of the 3,350 people currently on death row are poor, Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, told IPS's Adrianne Appel.
"We have a serious issue in the U.S. Our criminal justice system is very sensitive to wealth. Our system treats you better if you are rich and guilty, than if you are poor and innocent," Stevenson said.
In Arab and MuslIm countries the death penalty is also linked to poverty, writes Abderrahim El Ouali, IPS correspondent in the region.