The European Union has called for a global moratorium on capital punishment in the wake of the execution of John Ferguson in the US State of Florida.
The 65 year-old man was executed on Monday at Florida State Prison despite a plea by mental health organizations to stop it, saying that executing Ferguson would violate the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which requires an individual to have a rational understanding as to why they are being executed.
A plea by Ferguson’s lawyer calling for the execution to be commuted, mentioning a 40-year history of paranoid schizophrenia, was turned down.
He was convicted in 1978 of first-degree murder after going on a pair of killing sprees. Ferguson shot to death six people execution-style during a drug-related home robbery north of Miami and then six months later, killing two teenagers after they left a church meeting.
EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday said “The European Union recognizes the serious nature of the crime involved and expresses its sincere sympathy to the surviving family and friends of the victims.” However, the High Representative said “EU opposes the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances.” She called for a global moratorium as a first step towards its universal abolition. “With capital punishment, any miscarriage of justice, from which no legal system is immune, represents an irreversible loss of human life,” the statement added.