USA

In the US, 10% of death row inmates are veterans

Les tribunaux peinent à prendre en compte les atteintes psychiatriques de ces vétérans, punis par un pays pour lequel ils ont risqué leur vie, conclut cette étude du Centre d'information sur la peine de mort (DPIC).

The courts are struggling to address the mental suffering of these veterans, punished by a country for which they risked their lives, concludes the study of the Information Centre on the death penalty (TRIPs). Photo Credits: Pat Sullivan / AP

Some 300 veterans languish today in the death row after being found guilty of murder Once demobilized, according to a study by the Centre for Information on the death penalty.

Currently, three hundred of them haunt the corridors of death. In the United States, at least one sentenced to death in ten also proves to be a veteran, according to a study by the Information Centre of the death penalty published Tuesday. This association which fights against the death penalty intends to draw the attention of the authorities on the fate of these men, often traumatized by war, punishable by a country for which they risked their lives. Neither the US Department of Defense, nor of Justice statistics offer on the subject. Yet, according to figures from the Information Centre of the death penalty, the veterans are overrepresented on death row knowing that the Americans have made a career in the army account for just 7% of the population.

Why so many veterans are they condemned to death? The lead author of the study his explanation: Justice struggling to address the psychiatric abuses suffered by these veterans. “Post-traumatic stress is not an excuse for any crime, but it is a serious mental and emotional disorder that should be a mitigating factor against the application of the death penalty,” argues Richard Dieter. More than 800,000 veterans who served during the Vietnam War showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress. More than 300,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer as well. This disease is still poorly considered. Only half of them have received treatment last year.

A “new approach to justice”

Andrew Brannan.

Andrew Brannan Photo credit:. © Handout. / Reuters / REUTERS

The number of death row inmates and veterans suffering from PTSD is he, not exactly determined. Otherwise, Richard Dieter forward several emblematic cases. Among them, Andrew Brannan was the first prisoner to be executed this year in the United States. This veteran was decorated for bravery in Vietnam. On 12 January 1998, the military killed for no apparent reason Kyle Dinkheller police, who had tried to verbalize the speeding. Upon his arrest, Andrew Brannan out of the car and engages in what looks like dancing on the road to cause the police. Moments later, he eventually seize a weapon in his car. At trial, lawyers have tried unsuccessfully to argue mitigating circumstances: the defendant suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder although it had been diagnosed

The reintegration of veterans into civilian life recently. was highlighted by director Clint Eastwood. His film American Sniper , released earlier this year, and depicts the tragic fate of the elite sniper Chris Kyle, who was killed in 2013 by a brother in arms with post-traumatic stress. The latter, Eddie Ray Routh, was finally sentenced in February to life in prison. His lawyers, who were seeking a dismissal, had pleaded insanity of their client. The argument was rejected. The Information Centre on the death penalty still welcome a “new approach to justice.” In 2009, the Supreme Court had gone a step further by reversing the sentence against veteran Korea because these mental disorders had not been taken into account by the jury.

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