This year Jordan hastened the execution of terrorists in retaliation to daesh killing Jordanian hostage Moaz al-Kaseasbeh, having threatened to do so. That is, Jordan treated its own prisoners as hostages in some respects.

Apart from the application of the death penalty, and potential issues relating to the fairness of trials, are there any theoretical and/or legal human rights, either in Jordan or internationally, that could be violated as a result of this action, since the timing of the executions weren't in response to actions by the prisoners themselves? For example, would it be seen as collective punishment?


No, if, as you say we put aside the human rights questions surrounding the death penalty itself and assuming that the prisoners had been legitimately charged, convicted and had exhausted their appeals process.

Once a person has been convicted, sentenced to death and has exhausted their appeals then the timing of the execution passes from the judicial branch to the executive branch of government. This is why governments can implement and remove moratoriums on executions at their discretion.

Doubtless there are administrative rules and logistical issues involved in the actual timing of the execution but if these have all been correctly dealt with then they are essentially held at the pleasure of the person in the government charged with the decision.

Was it legal? Probably. Was it ethical? ...


This example dates back to the 16th century, but is quite famous historically.

Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner for nearly 20 years (after fleeing from Scotland to England), on suspicion of plotting to take the English throne from Queen Elizabeth I. But things "came to a head" in 1588, when a "third party," a young English Catholic, made a written proposal to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and enthrone Mary. When this proposal was shown to Mary, and she gave her assent (both were intercepted by Elizabeth's spies), it caused the execution not only of the young man, but of Mary herself.

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