Sierra Leone formally abolishes ‘inhumane’ demise penalty

The West African nation is the 23rd nation on the continent and the 110th worldwide to finish capital punishment.

Sierra Leone has formally abolished the demise penalty, changing into the 23rd African nation to repeal capital punishment.

President Julius Maada Bio on Friday signed the invoice into legislation after legislators within the former British colony had voted unanimously in its favour on July 23.

During a ceremony within the capital Freetown, Bio declared that the West African nation had “exorcised horrors of a cruel past” after a protracted marketing campaign to finish capital punishment.

In an announcement, the president denounced capital punishment “inhumane.” “We today affirm our belief in the sanctity of life,” he stated.

Under the brand new legislation, execution might be changed with life imprisonment or a minimal 30-year jail time period for crimes corresponding to homicide or mutiny.

The invoice additionally provides judges further discretion when issuing sentences, which opponents of capital punishment say is especially essential in circumstances the place the particular person convicted is a sufferer of sexual violence.

Civil society teams had fought for years for the demise penalty to be abolished within the nation, which continues to be recovering after many years of civil conflict.

“The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment which has no place in our world,” Amnesty International stated on the time of the vote.

Deputy Minister of Justice Umaru Napoleon Koroma informed AFP information company that Sierra Leone’s first recorded execution dated from 1798 – round a decade after Britain based the colony for freed slaves in 1787.

Ninety-four individuals have been living underneath a demise sentence on the finish of 2020, the minister added.

Recorded demise sentences in Sierra Leone elevated to 39 in 2020 in contrast with 21 in 2019. The West African nation has noticed a moratorium on executions, however prisoners sentenced to demise nonetheless stay individually from different inmates, which activists say is dehumanising.

The final time the demise penalty was carried out within the nation was in 1998, when 23 troopers have been executed by firing squad on the top of the 11-year civil conflict. But demise sentences have continued to be issued.

The West African nation of seven.eight million individuals is the 23rd nation on the continent and the 110th worldwide to finish capital punishment.

Sierra Leone joins a rising variety of African nations which have outlawed the demise penalty, with Chad abolishing the punishment final yr, for instance.

Among Africa’s 54 impartial nations, nearly half have abolished the punishment.

According to Amnesty International, 108 nations had utterly scrapped the demise penalty by the top of 2020, whereas 144 had abolished it both in legislation or in observe.

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