Countries retaining death penalty on decline
Manifesto 99 in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Institute for International Law, Coalition for Justice and Accountability has concluded a one day consultative forum to raise awareness on the abolition of the death penalty in the national constitution of Sierra Leone at the Presidential Hall, National Stadium in Freetown.
The Director of Manifesto 99 Sierra Leone, Mr. Abdul Raheem Kamara, disclosed that the programme is implemented by civil society and supported by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and focuses on the world wide trends towards the abolition which has been underway for fifteen years was again confirmed in 2012 and the first six months of 2013.
He also stated that there are currently 158 countries and territories that, to a larger extent, have decided to denounce the death penalty and of this figure he said, 100 are totally abolitionists, 7 are abolitionists for ordinary crimes, 5 have a moratorium on executions in place and 46 are de facto abolitionists, that is, countries that have not carried out any executions for at least 10 years or countries which have binding obligations not to use the death penalty.
He also disclosed that countries retaining the death penalty worldwide declined to 40 as of June 30 this year, compared to 43 in 2011.
Delivering his statement, the Outreach Coordinator, Mr. Patrick Fatoma, described the seminar as important, maintaining that the Special Court never carried out the death penalty. He said the mindset of Sierra Leoneans is that when someone commits a serious offence he/she should be given a commensurate punishment. He further stated that a person does not only loose his life by the death penalty but through various ways. He entreated the civil society to start advocating for prisoners who die in custody and stressed that he would like President Ernest Bai Koroma to facilitate the abolition of the death penalty in this country.
Speaking on the Biblical perspective of the death penalty, a representative of World Vision, Reverend Daniel A.O. Goba, said our laws are flawed because they are set up by human beings. He said capital punishment to Christianity has so many instances involving Jesus Christ who was sentenced to death, James one of the Disciples of Jesus Christ who was stoned to death. He further explained that Jesus Christ denounced violence in all forms. He observed that even though the death penalty was established in order to stop people from committing murder, people still continue to kill each other. He called on all Sierra Leoneans to love one another as that is the only way that we can stop doing evil against each other.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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