Ghana abolishes dying penalty, with anticipated reprieve for 176 condemned prisoners

Ghana abolishes dying penalty, with anticipated reprieve for 176 condemned prisoners

Ghana has change into the twenty ninth nation in Africa to abolish the dying penalty in a transfer hailed by human rights activists.

The choice signifies that the 176 individuals at present on dying row, together with six girls, are more likely to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

On Tuesday, Ghana’s parliament voted to amend the nation’s felony offences act, eradicating using capital punishment for crimes together with homicide, genocide, piracy and smuggling.

The dying sentence can nonetheless be given for acts of excessive treason, and campaigners cautioned that the nation’s structure must change for an entire elimination of the penalty.

Ghana has not carried out an execution since 1993, however courts have continued handy down dying sentences, together with seven final 12 months. The nation’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, must signal the invoice into legislation earlier than it comes into pressure.

Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, the Ghanian MP behind the invoice, hailed the choice. “I’ve seen firsthand that the dying penalty doesn’t carry a way of justice or closure to the households of crime victims, and neither does it deter offenders,” he advised the Guardian.

“I’ve additionally seen that these sentenced to dying are typically susceptible people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who’ve usually skilled deep private trauma. It was my view that we as a nation had been higher than this. I launched these payments as a result of I needed the courts to stop imposing an inhuman punishment.”

Ghana is the 124th nation to abolish the dying penalty; 41 different nations are thought of to have de facto bans as they haven’t carried out an execution for greater than 10 years. In 2022, dying sentences had been confirmed in 52 nations, 4 lower than in 2021, in response to Amnesty Worldwide.

At the least 883 executions had been recorded final 12 months – a 53% rise since 2021. Prior to now 5 years, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia have abolished the dying penalty.

Samira Daoud, Amnesty Worldwide’s west and central Africa director, mentioned the vote was “a victory for all those that have tirelessly campaigned to consign this merciless punishment to historical past and strengthen the safety of the best to life”.

She added: “Though a landmark choice, the entire abolition of this draconian punishment wouldn’t be full with out revising the structure, which nonetheless gives for prime treason to be punishable by dying.”

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