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World News

Bishop joins calls for treason laws to be updated to avoid death penalty

by Cara Bentley

Home Secretary Sajid Javid allowed two British men who chose to fight for IS in Syria, Alexander Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, to be sent to America and be tried there, where they could be given a death sentence.

It prompted the think tank The Policy Exchange to call for our treason laws to be updated from 1351 so that betrayal against the state could be punished by a life sentence. 

Doctor John Inge, bishop of Worcester, agrees with this idea and told Premier's News Hour: "If we as Christians are opposed to the death penalty, as I am, then that has to apply in all cases. Opposition from a Christian perspective to the death penalty results from human life being sacred and that is not negotiable, no matter how heinous the crimes of anyone.

"I would want the sanctity of life proclaimed and protected by our nation, as a Christian who believes very strongly in that sanctity.

The report  also focuses on the soon release of several terrorists and says life sentences for them would be safer for the country.

Bishop John agreed that long-term sentences were favourable over the death sentence.

"I think it's become topical at the moment but I've thought long and hard about the death penalty...it seems to me to be unthinkable for us as Christians to support the death penalty. 'Vengeance is mine' says the Lord, 'I will repay', Jesus tells us to love our enemies.

"That doesn't mean of course that justice should not be meted out to people who have committed heinous crimes - and imprisonment for all sorts of reasons is the proper thing to do, after due justice has been seen to be done and done. But the death penalty is just not acceptable."

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