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Death sentences and executions in 2013

a reduction of death sentences imposed by courts, and the commutation to life imprisonment of 33 death sentences by President John Mahama on 1 July. An Implementation Committee was working through the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission, including the abolition of the death penalty. In the outcome of Ghana’s UPR adopted on 14 March, the government agreed to put to an early referendum all recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission approved by the government that require changes to the Constitution, including the removal of the death penalty. However, it rejected recommendations to abolish capital punishment, adopt a formal moratorium on executions in the interim, or ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. Ghana explained that the issue of the death penalty could only be changed through a referendum, and that decisions on a moratorium or abolition could not be taken prior to that. At the conclusion of his visit to Ghana in November, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture expressed concern that conditions for prisoners on death row were worse than for other inmates.74 At least 11 death sentences were reported in Kenya, including for non-lethal acts such as car-jacking. However, the true number is likely to be much higher, and NGOs have reported that in 2012 alone, at least 575 death sentences had been handed down.75 Serious concerns exist that indigent individuals accused of capital offences have been sentenced to death following unfair trials, as the quality of state-funded legal representation is often very poor. Under the Penal Code, the offences of murder, treason, robbery with violence, attempted robbery, and administering an oath to commit a capital offence carry the mandatory death penalty. While the Court of Appeal in 2010 declared the mandatory death penalty for murder to be unconstitutional, the High Court has subsequently given conflicting decisions on this matter.76 In October a different bench of the Court of Appeal decided that the mandatory death penalty should continue to be applied until Parliament chose to amend the statute.77 The Committee against Torture, when examining Kenya’s state report in May, remained concerned over the legal uncertainty following the disparate judgments and by the high number of death sentences including for non-lethal offences. It noted that more than 1,600 people were under sentence of death, despite the Presidential commutation in 2009 of all then existing death sentences – over 4,000.78 At least one death sentence was imposed in Lesotho, for multiple murder.79 In Liberia, one man was sentenced to death for murder and rape in June. During a visit by European Union officials to the Supreme Court in October, Justices remarked that they could not rule against the death penalty unless the laws of Liberia, including the Constitution which was being reviewed, were changed by the legislature. The same month the acting Chairman of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, Boakai Dukuly, emphasized the need for abolition of the death penalty. According to local NGOs, 29 people are on death row In Malawi. In January, Attorney General Antony Kamanga justified its retention, claiming support by a majority of Malawians. At least seven death sentences were handed down in Mali in 2013, all for murder. The death

Index: ACT 50/001/2014

Amnesty International March 2014

Death sentences and executions 2013  

This report is also available in Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian and Spanish at the following link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AC...

Death sentences and executions 2013  

This report is also available in Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian and Spanish at the following link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AC...

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