Amnesty hails Malawi court ruling that death penalty is unconstitutional

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published May 1, 2021

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RUSTENBURG - This week’s ruling by Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal that the death penalty is unconstitutional is a vital victory, rights group Amnesty International has said.

According to a report by news website Nyasa Times, the court made the ruling on Wednesday and ordered the re-sentencing of all convicts facing execution.

"The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and it has no place in this world. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and an assault on human rights," Amnesty International’s regional director for East and Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said in a statement dated Thursday.

"While the news from Malawi is positive, the death penalty remains in place in the majority of countries across sub-Saharan Africa. Governments need to take action to ensure the region gets rid of the death penalty once and for all."

According to news website Malawi 24, there has been a moratorium on the death penalty in the southern African country since 1994.

A report by Amnesty International on the global use of the death penalty in 2019 slammed some governments in sub-Saharan Africa for not consistently endeavouring to protect the right to life.

It said Botswana, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan were particularly notorious within the region for carrying out executions despite a five percent reduction in the practice around the world.

"They were the same countries that carried out executions in 2018 and have consistently done so in the last decade," the report stated, adding that the number of confirmed death sentences handed down in sub-Saharan Africa had increased by 53 percent from 212 in 2018 to 325 the following year.

Death sentences were confirmed in 18 countries in 2019, an increase of one compared with the previous year.

– African News Agency

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