Death Penalty vs Social Media

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/world/middleeast/mercy-and-social-media-slow-the-noose-in-iran.html?_r=0

This NY Times article was just the proverbial cherry on the cake of social media’s power. In Iran, capital punishment is a favorite form of punishment for crime. It is handed out and executed (pun not intended) all the time for a lot of crimes.

In this case, Safar Anghouti, age 17, killed another man he suspected of talking with a woman he considered his; but seemingly not intentionally, just as a result of a flash of rage.Being a minor, his family pleaded with the public via social media websites to help raise funds to buy his freedom. Yes, in Iran you can buy your way out some crimes. The family of Anghouti went to the victim’s family and urged them to show mercy and allow a possible monetary compensation instead of death. Reluctantly, they agreed that in the event that they receive $50,000, they will stop the hanging. With the public’s sentiments on his side, Anghouti’s family was able to raise (even more than) the required $50,000 that the victim’s family demanded. Having the funds in place, Safar Anghouti will soon be released as a free man.

The article also made it a point to mention that the overuse of capital punishment for a wide range of crimes is a form of punishment decreasing in favor by the public. The expanding middle class has expressed concern that capital punishment is given all too often, and they want a change.

Before this post turns political, ethical, or any form of divisive, I want to just say that I think it is incredible to think that social media can have this sort of effect. I shouldn’t be surprised given all that we have learned about the effects of social media in today’s society, but I just think this is a stellar example of just how far-reaching that can go.

Whether you think it was wrong or right, what do you think about this story?

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By rohpatel

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