Sierra Leone Moves to Ban Death Penalty

The government of Sierra Leone’s are moving to abolish the death penalty in the West African state.

Deputy Justice Minister, Umaru Napoleon Koroma announced the move on Wednesday during a review of Sierra Leone’s human rights record at the United Nations.

No execution has taken place in the country since 1998 and death penalties are often commuted.

While the nation is still recovering after decades of civil war, human right groups have frequently criticized the country for keeping capital punishment in the books.

Korma remarked that the government seeks to amend the punishments for crimes that currently carry the death penalty, whilst suggesting “life in prison” as an alternative.

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Minister Koroma disclosed that “… once the legislation goes to parliament and gets approved, that ends the story of the death penalty.”

He added that the cabinet of President Julius Maada Bio has decided to push to abolish capital punishment in order to “uphold the fundamental human rights of Sierra Leoneans”.

The date of the cabinet’s decision is unclear.

The European Union’s ambassador to Sierra Leone, Tom Vens, has congratulated the country on the new move.

If parliament passes the ban, Sierra Leone will become the latest African country to abolish the death penalty since Chad outlawed it in May.

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According to Amnesty International, 108 countries completely abolished the death penalty by the end of 2020, while 144 had abolished it in law or in practice.

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