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Nyasa Times

2 December 2013

Catholic group calls for abolition of death penalty in Malawi

Malawi should abolish the death penalty because it is barbaric and inhuman, the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Christian community that is officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a “Church public lay association” has said.

Under the Cities for life programme, the Community has embarked on a campaign to force government to end the death penalty.

During a recent public debate held at St Johns Nursing School hall in Mzuzu, participants noted that the presence of the death penalty on the country’s penal code did not augur well with the famous mantra of ‘Malawi as a God fearing and Christian nation’.

Although Malawi retains the death penalty it has not carried out an execution since 1992.

Ironically, many people in Malawi support the retention and implementation of capital punishment, according to a study by the Malawi Law Commission.

Scholista Nthala turning biblical said taking someone’s life is a direct violation of biblical teachings.

“The death penalty is despicable because many people that end on the death row are poor and cannot afford lawyers to argue their cases. Therefore the state may end up executing innocent people,” Nthala said.

The Community of Sant’Egidio chairperson for the north Peter Mumba said the death penalty violates human rights.

“They are many alternatives to punish murderers and we would want government to scrap this piece of legislations immediately,” Mumba said.

Although Malawi has been a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1993, it has neither signed nor ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (1989).

Malawi has also abstained from voting in both the 2007 and 2008 UN General Assembly Resolutions on the adoption of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
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