Donations to the Community of Sant'Egidio are tax deductible
under current regulations

Also this year it can target the 5x1000 to the Community of Sant'Egidio
Write the number 80191770587 in the tax return

Andrea Riccardi: on the web

Andrea Riccardi: on social networks

Andrea Riccardi: press review

change language
you are in: no death penalty - news contacting usnewsletterlink

Support The Community

July 4 2008 | PAKISTAN


Government approved commutation of 7.000 sentences to death into life imprisonment, as a tribute to the memory of Benazir Bhutto. The last decision up to the President of the Repubblic

printable version

 DAILY TIMES   Pakistan

Editorial: Abolition of death penalty

The cabinet of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has approved a decision to commute the death sentence of 7,000 persons on the death row to life imprisonment, barring habitual criminals guilty of heinous crimes. On the occasion of the birthday anniversary of Ms Benazir Bhutto, Mr Gilani had announced that his government would make recommendations to President Pervez Musharraf to commute the death sentences of thousands of prisoners to life imprisonment as a birthday tribute to Ms Bhutto.
The move has aroused some opposition within the coalition government and among a section of the public, but it has been welcomed by a majority as the first step in the direction of abolishing the death sentence in line with the practise in many modern nation-states. The religious rejection from the clergy was spearheaded by JUI leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman who is opposed in principle to the power of the president of the republic to “forgive” a death sentence given under Islamic law. The reaction of the common man or the future “victims” of the decision is more related to Pakistan’s abysmal social conditions in which crime is rampant despite the deterrence of the death sentence.
People who have been aroused into bringing their opposition to the TV channels are those whose rivals have been sentenced to death recently by the courts. Their fear is that once taken out of death row and sent to prison for life, the killers would organise revenge attacks on them. One can, of course, argue with this angle, but the bottom line is that commutation goes against the instinct of revenge as justice, and that conditions surrounding the execution of law in Pakistan are not compatible with all the requirements of justice.
Those who favour a rationalisation of the laws often face despair when they discover that all reform of bad laws is considered heresy by those who trace them to divine origin. The reformists think that if such bad laws as diyat (blood money), rijm (stoning to death) and blasphemy remain on the statute books, it is better to abolish the death penalty to save innocent people from being unfairly killed. Then there are subtexts to the laws dubbed sharia that simply cry out for reform. One is the concept of the wali. A man kills his wife but is set free because he is the wali or protector of his (and his murdered wife’s) children. There is also the “Islamic way” of commuting or “forgiving” a death sentence. Under the law of diyat, the wali of the killed person can “forgive” the killer after receiving money from the killer’s family. There is therefore malpractice galore under a law that goes in favour of a rich and powerful killer who can force the family of the victim to take diyat and keep quiet. This is why most human rights organisations list the abolition of the death sentence in their charters.
The European Union has abolished the death sentence, but in America the states differ in practice. In the Third World, uniformly, the idea of abolition doesn’t find much support. Leaving aside the clergy in Pakistan — who would add more legal conditions to allow the state to kill through the doctrine of fitna — realistic legalists also hesitate before accepting the argument of the abolitionists. There are many objections, but the biggest is the abysmal condition of the prisons. When conditions of “free life” are nearly as tough as the one in prison, people don’t mind killing. Poor people can also start killing for money if it is only prison they get. Death alone is a deterrence for many.
The government has made a one-time gesture which might reprieve some persons wrongly sentenced to death. However, one must emphasise that such people are often not victims of miscarriage of justice but of the law under which the judge is helpless to award death. We refer to the Blasphemy Law where innocent people are hauled up before the court and made to suffer the death penalty without first being proved guilty in intent. This law is so badly framed that one wishes that its victims, usually members of our non-Muslim communities, could be saved through an abolition of the death penalty.
Maybe the time has not come yet to abolish the death penalty. Perhaps at some point in the future, Pakistan might be mentally more attuned to considering the matter. At this time, however, death has become cheap under laws that the various warlords calling themselves “Islamic soldiers” have imposed in parts of Pakistan. For example, the warlord of the Khyber, Mangal Bagh, suddenly the favourite of many as the army goes in to unseat him from his throne, has killed innocent people under “Islamic sharia”. Another warlord in Swat, Fazlullah, has beheaded innocent people also under allegedly “Islamic” inspiration.
The jury is out on the death sentence. The task is to first put in place a legal system that can actually obtain and then sustain the good results of abolishing the death penalty.
October 15 2016

Human rights activist asks Pope to discuss the death penalty with Lukashenka

Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus", has sent a letter to Pope Francis, asking him to touch upon the issue of capital punishment during his meeting with President Lukashenka.
October 10 2016
October 10,14th World Day Against the Death Penalty

On the 14th world day against the death penalty a conference entitled "No Justice Without Life" will be held in Japan

July 2 2016
Address and the Final Ceremony by Mario Marazziti. Nobel Peace Prize Room, City Hall. June 23rd 2016

CITIES FOR LIFE – CITIES AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo

by Mario Marazziti
June 25 2016

Pope Francis: “Death penalty is unacceptable”

Pope Francis addresses the authorities, the associations, the activists and the civil society gathered in Oslo on the occasion of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty through a video message.
June 21 2016
The 6th Congress Against the Death Penalty opens today in Oslo

The Community of Sant'Egidio takes part in the congress with delegations from Italy, Congo, Belgium, Spain, Germany and Indonesia

1500 attendants coming from over 80 countries. Among them, 20 ministers, 200 diplomats, members of different parliaments, scholars, lawyers, members of various associations and civil society actors
May 25 2016
"The laws are not perfect and judges cannot make mistakes. When you think that laws are perfect, this is the beginning of injustice", said Mgr. Suharyo

Church and civil society against new executions

Jakarta is among the 15 cities in Indonesia where in the past years the event "Cities for Life, Cities against the Death Penalty" was held, organized by Sant'Egidio in over two thousand municipalities in the five continents
all related news

June 4 2016
The Washington Post

Meet the red-state conservatives fighting to abolish the death penalty
May 23 2016

Malaysian death row convict loses final appeal in Singapore
May 23 2016

Vescovo filippino: È presto per giudicare il contraddittorio Duterte. No alla pena di morte
May 14 2016

Pfizer blocca i farmaci per la pena di morte negli Usa
May 14 2016
La Stampa

Pena di morte, Pfizer blocca l’uso dei suoi farmaci per le iniezioni letali negli Usa
all press-related

Motion Grafic "cities for life" 2012 -
Motion Grafic cities for life FR -
Promo Engl 2013 citiesforlife -

65 visits

226 visits

45 visits

48 visits

52 visits
all the related media