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Death Penalty Information

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kenya: calls to abolish the death penalty
EU States Back Kiai's Call to Abolish Hanging

A proposal by the Government's human rights watchdog to abolish the death
sentence has received backing from 27 European Union (EU) countries.
A section of lawyers have also supported the recommendations contained in
a new report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).
German ambassador, Mr Walter Lindner, described hanging as crude and
inhuman. "Eleven countries in Africa have abolished the death penalty and
it is time Kenya joined in to do the same," he said.
Germany, which holds the EU presidency, and other member States have
abolished death sentences.
EU has been at the forefront in supporting civil society organisations to
lobby for the abolition of capital punishment
At last year's World Day Against Death Penalty, EU urged all governments
to get rid of the punishment.
Britain also added its voice. "Uganda and Tanzania has started questioning
the death penalty and Kenya should start to do the same," said Mr Adam
Wood, the British High Commissioner.
Wood said death row convicts are cruelly treated.
More than half the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty
and apply life imprisonment for the most serious crimes.
Under the local laws, murder, treason and robbery with violence, including
attempted robbery with violence, carry a death sentence.
KNHRC says Parliament should amend the law to do away with the penalty.
Its report, Abolition of the Death Penalty in Kenya, also recommends that
current hanging convicts face life imprisonment instead.
"The fact that there has never been executions in the last 20 years
suggests that death penalty is not right," said KNCHR chairman, Maina
Kiai, while launching the paper on Wednesday.
"Even though it is in our legal books and laws, it is not the right thing
for us to be doing." The most damning aspect about the penalty is that
once executed, it is irreversible even if there has been miscarriage of
justice, KNCHR said.
The commission is mandated to advise the Government on ways to enhance
protection of human rights.
Enforcement of the death penalty violates Article 7 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against torture
and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, to which
Kenya is party.
Addressing rights activists and envoys, Kiai said it was time for Kenya to
join in the steps of the emerging global trend that seeks to abolish
capital punishment. Eleven African countries have abolished the
punishment. These are Angola, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau,
Liberia, Senegal, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, and South
Africa. "Tanzania and Uganda's highest courts have ruled that death
penalty is a crude and cruel punishment that ensures human rights
violations," Kiai added.
(source: East African Standard)
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