Amnesty International's New Ads Show Last Meals of Death Row Inmates
Above is one of the images used in Amnesty International's new ad campaign advocating for a global end to the death penalty. Below the image reads "This was Ruben Cantu's Last Meal. Executed in 1993. Proved Innocent in 2010. If you can't stomach this, act. Sign up the petition against the death penalty at facebook.com/amnestypr."
The campaign features a series of ads depicting the last meals of executed innocent prisoners. Amnesty sponsored these ads in Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, on its website, Amnesty highlights the story of Kirk Bloodsworth, a man who faced execution but was proven innocent. As the advocacy director for Witness to Innocence, he now advocates for abolishing the death penalty nationwide.
In the meantime, on Tuesday, Warren Hill was granted a stay of execution about 30 minutes before he was supposed to be executed in Georgia, after doctors reversed their opinion and claimed he was mentally disabled.
While the sadistic death penalty continues to be used in the United States and dozens of other countries around the world, the practice of providing death row prisoners with a last meal of their choice continues to spark fascination. Why display a glimpse of humanity before such an inhumane practice? Amnesty's new ads not only provoke emotion from viewers by humanizing these men, but also, perhaps unknowingly, analyzes the practice itself. If there is even a small sense of empathy for death row prisoners, perhaps one day this can expand to a sense of acceptance — instead of the rejection of a person's existence.
In addition, although the death penalty should be condemned regardless of the fact that some of those executed are later found innocent, Amnesty's ads are a stark reminder that our "justice" system is seriously flawed.