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Linda Cavanaugh and Rex Huppke
journalists who witnessed the execution
 real 56k

Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Mixed global response to McVeigh execution
Media from around the world gather at the federal prison in Terre Haute to hear that McVeigh has been executed
The world's media - differing signals over McVeigh's death
Reaction around the world to the execution of the Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh has been varied - ranging from out and out condemnation by European leaders to indifference in Asian countries.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh
McVeigh: Controversial in death

European reaction came as George W Bush prepared for his first visit to Europe as president. The five day tour began on Tuesday.

The Swedish Government, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, headed the critics.

Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said the EU regretted the continued use of capital punishment in the US, and would be voicing its concerns at a summit with Mr Bush in Gothenburg later this week. No EU country uses the death penalty.

No matter how much they are called `barbaric' by the United Nations and European countries, the United States continues down the road of being the great execution nation

Japan's Asahi newspaper

While the execution received top news coverage in Europe, it was marked as a matter-of-fact event in many Asian countries where capital punishment is an accepted law enforcement tool.

On the streets, many people said McVeigh received an appropriate punishment.

A way of deterring serious crime and maintaining social stability

Chinese media

"He deserved to die," said Min Sung-joo, 31, a computer programer in South Korea, where about 40 convicts are reported to be on death row.

"I really don't have any sympathy for the guy. That's what's due to him," said Edward Wong, 27, an art director for an ad agency in Singapore where 340 people have been executed in the past decade for mainly drug related offences.

China leads the world in executions, putting at least 1,000 people to death last year, often with a bullet to the back of the head.

There, state-run and commercial media defended the death penalty as a way of deterring serious crime and maintaining social stability.

Uncle Sam, the serial killer

The Australian

State-run papers said McVeigh had led a "brief and evil life" and carried headlines of approval such as "The law acts on McVeigh".

But the media in Australia, New Zealand and Japan sharply criticised the execution, which conducts the death penalty in secret, refusing until recently to even confirm to the public when executions had been carried out.

"It was virtually a public execution" said Japan's major Asahi newspaper in a front-page story about the close-circuit broadcast of the McVeigh killing.


"No matter how much they are called `barbaric' by the United Nations and European countries, the United States continues down the road of being the great execution nation."

US President George W Bush waves from the presidential plane after arriving in Spain
Mr Bush's belief in the death penalty is under global scrutiny

An editorial in the New Zealand Herald, the country's largest circulation paper, condemned the execution as "degrading".

Given the gravity of his crime, the paper said McVeigh will not be missed "but in taking his life the United States has diminished itself".

Australia's national newspaper, The Australian, carried a guest editorial with the headline "Uncle Sam, the serial killer". In it, prominent human rights advocate Chris Sidoti criticised the high number of executions in the United States.

The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been given not vengeance but justice

President George W Bush

McVeigh's execution was the 34th in the United States this year.

The 33-year-old was the first federal prisoner to be executed for 38 years.

He died by lethal injection at 0714 local time (1214 GMT) on Monday, six years after killing 168 people in the worst-ever peacetime attack on US soil.

Timothy McVeigh was a cold-blooded murderer. He will not be missed. But the way he died was sad, pathetic and wrong

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Mr Bush called the execution "the severest sentence for the gravest of crimes".

"The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been given not vengeance but justice," he said in a statement at the White House.

Mr Bush started his European tour in Madrid on Tuesday. The visit is already controversial because of European anger at Washington's abandoning of the Kyoto protocol on the environment.

Fundamental principle

European critics of capital punishment called the execution a vengeful, morally unjustifiable way of making McVeigh pay for his crime.

In a statement, the German Government said it opposed McVeigh's execution on "fundamental principle".

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also voiced opposition to the execution.

"It is high time the United States rethought its attitude to the death penalty and aligned its position with the great majority of the free and democratic world," council president Lord Russell-Johnston said.

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11 Jun 01 | Americas
Defiant McVeigh dies in silence
12 Jun 01 | Europe
Bush faces EU challenge
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