The parliament of the Republic of Ghana has voted to abolish the death penalty, joining a long list of African countries that have done so in recent years.
There are currently 170 males and 6 women on death row in the country; their death sentences will be commuted to life in prison. The last execution was carried out in 1993.
In the past, a conviction for murder in Ghana always resulted in the death penalty.
Polls show that the vast majority of Ghanaians support ending slavery.
Seven persons in Ghana were given death sentences last year, but no one was put to death. In the past, treason in Ghana also carried the death penalty as punishment.
Francis-Xavier Sosu, a member of parliament, introduced a measure to modify the Criminal Offences Act, which was supported by the Committee on Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs.
The Death Penalty Project (DPP), a London-based advocacy group, collaborated with Mr. Sosu to modify the statute.
According to a DPP statement, Ghana is the 124th country in the world and the 29th in Africa to abolish the death penalty.
Many African countries, including Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, have abolished the death penalty in recent years.
“This is a great advancement of the human rights record of Ghana,” said MP Francis-Xavier Sosu.
“on death row, prisoners woke up thinking this could be their last day on earth. They were like the living dead: psychologically, they had ceased to be humans.” He added.
Member of Parliament (MP) Francis-Xavier Sosu stated that as a society, we are determined not to be brutal, uncivil, closed, retrogressive, or dark if we choose to abolish the death penalty.
He continued by saying this will usher in a more progressive and liberated society based on “our common belief that the sanctity of life is inviolable.”
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