By Yvonne Manjengwa
HARARE – Amnesty International has applauded Zimbabwe for commuting the death sentences of prisoners who have been on death row for more than 10 years showing a positive step forward to the abolishment of death penalty.
A research conducted by Amnesty International pointed out that there has been a decrease in the global use of the death penalty in 2017.
In a statement, the Director of Amnesty International Southern Africa Region, Deprose Muchena said the progress in sub-Saharan Africa reinforced its position as a beacon of hope for abolition.
“The leadership of countries in this region gives fresh hope that the abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is within reach. Sadly, countries like Botswana are regressing”, said Muchena.
Muchena added that 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have abolished the death penalty for all crimes it is high time that the rest of the world follows their lead and consigns this detestable punishment to the history books.
Amnesty International recorded at least 933 executions in 23 countries in 2017, down by 4% from 2016 (1,032 executions) and 39% from 2015 (when the organisation reported 1,634 executions, the highest number since 1989).
“Over the past 40 years, we’ve seen a huge positive shift in the global outlook for the death penalty, but more urgent steps need to be taken to stop the horrifying practice of state killing”, said Muchena.
Muchena noted that death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it and by galvanizing the support of people worldwide; they can stand up to this cruel punishment and end death penalty everywhere.