Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Amnesty International welcomes abolishment of the death penalty

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Amnesty International has welcomed the announcement by President Hakainde Hichilema that the death penalty has been abolished in Zambia.

Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Tigere Chagutah says this is a progressive move that shows the country’s commitment to protecting the right to life.

Mr. Chagutah says Zambia has become the 25th country in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

In a statement, Mr. Chagutah says Zambia’s decision to ban the death penalty should serve as an example to countries in the region that still use the death penalty and compel them to take immediate steps to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment and protect the right to life.

Responding to an announcement by Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema on Friday 23 December 2022, that he had assented to a law banning the death penalty and the offence of criminal defamation of the president, Mr. Chagutah said, “Amnesty International welcomes the announcement by President Hichilema that the death penalty has been abolished in Zambia. This is a good and progressive move that shows the country’s commitment to protecting the right to life. We also commend President Hichilema for quashing the offence of criminal defamation of the president, used until recently to muzzle free speech and unjustifiably limit freedom of expression in the country.”

“With the abolition, Zambia the 25th country in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. Zambia’s decision to ban the death penalty should serve as an example to countries in the region that still use the death penalty and compel them to take immediate steps to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment and protect the right to life.”

He said Zambia’s decision to ban the death penalty should serve as an example to countries in the region that still use the death penalty

Amnesty International also encourages Zambia authorities to promptly accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

In its latest report on the use of the death penalty, Amnesty International documented that executions in sub Saharan Africa more than doubled from 16 in 2020 to 33 in 2021.

There have been important steps towards abolition across Southern Africa in recent years. Angola, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, and South Africa have all abolished the death penalty.

8 COMMENTS

  1. This is a one-sided opinion, it hasn’t taken into consideration victims of heinous crimes and might therefore lead to extrajudicial killings as people seek revenge. Zambian laws provide for the recognition of reformed criminals through the prerogative of mercy. Some criminals don’t repent and remain defiant even in prison. Such persons don’t deserve mercy. The fact that no one signed any warranty to execute death sentences since 1997 isn’t a justification to repeal the Act as that was just negligence of duty by misguided occupants of the office of President. When Sakwiba Sikota was bundled in the boot of his X5 together with his son, he had a different view about rights of criminals. Let’s wait and see

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    • In Zambia, such criminals are released and in a short time gunned down by the police. Zambian prison conditions are worse than the dearth penalty in some cases anyway.

  2. So someone has the right to kill but but he can’t be held accountable…this Amnesty is full of kaaaaka…and you will see murder cases skyrocketing

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  3. We have seen the president trying to abolish death penalty without any mention of what is going to happen to those that are already on death penalty or those that will commit such offence after. I he going to pardon them? build more prisons. This is why I say this is just a pronauciation just like many he has made that have turned out impractical.

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  4. Does the law of Zambia allow one man to arbitrarily abolish laws he does not like? Someone needs to sue Hakainde on this, and get this principle tested in a court of law. If he can abolish laws he does not like, does he have the power to abolish the laws that allow opposition parties to exist? The principle is more important than any person. We refuse to live under autocratic rule. It does not matter whether one supports or opposes the death penalty; the fact of the matter is that if Zambia is democratic country, the people through their representatives, and not the person, should decide such things as this. Please do not surrender on this issue.

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