Europeans Ambivalent About McVeigh

Europeans, who oppose capital punishment, have little to say about Timothy McVeigh, leaving the impression that they don't see arguing for his life as a good way to further an anti-death penalty crusade.

Nearly every European country has abolished capital punishment in law or in practice. In fact, more than half the world's nations have discontinued it.

Still, 1,500 people were executed last year by 29 different governments. Nearly nine out of 10 of those executed were put to death in just four countries: China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States.

At a conference on capital punishment being held in Strasbourg, France, this month, the United States may be officially censured for its tolerance of the death penalty.

With French President Jacques Chirac an ardent opponent of the death penalty, France seems an appropriate setting for the conference.

French actress Catherine Deneuve recently presented an anti-death penalty petition to the U.S. ambassador. The petition held more than a half-million signatures.

Still, not many voices are being raised specifically against the execution of Timothy McVeigh — not even the voice of Maurice Bignami, a convicted terrorist who was imprisoned for his crimes against the Italian government.

"I don't know," Bignami said. "Probably, McVeigh doesn't deserve a chance to live."

Twenty years ago, Bignami, like McVeigh, was a terrorist, convicted of several political murders. But unlike McVeigh, he was sent to prison, not to his death.

Now Bignami says he is rehabilitated. And yet he is reluctant to condemn the finality of McVeigh's sentence.

"I also feel the need for a quick, clear justice," he said.

ABCNews' Jim Wooten contributed to this report.

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