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 contact usnewsletterlink

Support The Community

 
July 17 2012 | ZAMBIA

Times of Zambia - Una petizione dal braccio della morte di Kabwe: rompere il silenzio sulla pena capitale! (EN)

 
printable version

Zambia: Break the Deathly Silence On Death Penalty!

THE petition by inmates on the death row at Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison in Kabwe who have sued the Attorney-General over alleged delays by the Supreme Court to hear their appeals once again underscores a serious human rights issue which cannot be glossed over.

Even inmates are supposed to be accorded decent treatment in conformity with international conventions and protocols which set out the fundamental rights and basic necessities that ought to be availed to convicted offenders incarcerated for various crimes.

During his recent tour of Mukobeko prison and other penitentiaries in the country, Vice-President Guy Scott described the appalling conditions under which the inmates were living as "Hell on Earth."

Dr Scott was alluding to the congestion and general unsanitary conditions obtaining in all prisons, which had become fertile breeding grounds for all forms of contagious diseases that had exacerbated the inhumane conditions in the prison cells.

We would not be exaggerating the point if we stated that the vice-president was traumatised by what he saw during his tour of prison facilities. It was evident from his summation of his visitation that Zambian prisons were not only "Hell on Earth"; by implication, he was saying the current state of prisons rendered them unfit for human habitation.

The conditions under which the death row inmates live are much worse. They are crammed in tiny holding cells that are poorly ventilated, limiting access to natural light and air. But even more appalling is the fact that the convicts are confined to holding cells that have no lavatories, forcing them to relieve themselves in tins after lock-up hours.

What has worsened this situation is the current ambivalent position on the death penalty that has seen numbers of convicts swelling by the day because no executions have been carried out for over a decade now.

Inmates convicted of murder or aggravated robbery, and in some cases both capital offences, have been languishing at Mukobeko after losing their appeals in the Supreme Court due to the fact that successive Republican presidents had refused to sign the death warrants because they did not subscribe to the death penalty.

President Levy Mwanawasa did not mince his words on this matter and stated categorically that he would not sanction any executions of convicted murderers and others condemned to death for capital offences because he considered it morally wrong to do so.

After Mr Mwanawasa's demise, President Rupiah Banda assumed the reigns and endorsed his predecessor's position. No executions have taken place in the last ten years, seven of which were under Mr Mwanawasa, followed by Mr Banda's three-year rule.

What this clearly illustrates is that our leaders consider it morally reprehensible to take another person's life--the heinous crimes committed by some of the convicts notwithstanding. It is both a moral and human rights issue, and no one can force a leader to act against his or her conscience.

Under the present circumstances, one pertinent question that begs an answer is: Should Zambians still retain the death penalty in their new Constitution? Why should the death row numbers keep swelling and compounding prison congestion when our leaders consider it morally unacceptable to terminate anybody's life?

Another dimension to the argument is the preamble in the Zambian Constitution which says that Zambia is a Christian nation.

This preamble pre-supposes that our nation will be guided by Biblical principles which include the Ten Commandments. One of these commandments says "Thou shalt not kill." The Bible goes further to remind all believers that God says "vengeance is mine."

The dilemma facing our country on this matter has tormented many other nations. Suffice to say that there is no easy way out. To avoid getting caught up in the moral arguments, some people seek refuge in the Old Testament which seems to favour the philosophy of revenge or "an eye for an eye..."

We must end the current ambivalent posturing on this matter, and the only reasonable, sensible and rational solution is to abolish the death penalty.

RELATED NEWS
November 20 2017
UNITED STATES

Plans shaping up for this year’s Cities for Life, Cities Against the Death Penalty


Family members of murder victims, death row exonerees, death penalty attorneys, law professors, and religious leaders will join Floridians to celebrate hold vigil to end the death penalty in the State of Florida
November 2 2017
article by Andrea Riccardi

Death Penalty: Horror or Injustice


(Famiglia cristiana) translated in English
October 27 2017
UNITED STATES
From SOUTHERN CROSS - CATHOLIC PASTORAL CENTER

Three bishops reiterate their opposition to the death penalty following resolution of court case


Barbara D. King is the Director of Communications for the diocese of Savannah
October 27 2017
GUATEMALA

Guatemala high court abolishes death penalty in civil cases

October 18 2017

Back from Death Row: Working to End Capital Punishment

October 16 2017
UNITED STATES

U.N. Secretary-General, European Union Ambassador Call for Abolition of “Barbaric” Death Penalty

all related news

ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 28 2016
AP

High court to examine mental disability, death penalty issue
November 12 2016
Internazionale

Si rafforza la pena di morte negli Stati Uniti
November 11 2016

Al liceo classico “Socrate” di Bari, conferenza “Non c’è giustizia senza vita”
October 24 2016
New York Times

The Death Penalty, Nearing Its End
June 4 2016
The Washington Post

Meet the red-state conservatives fighting to abolish the death penalty
all press-related

VIDEO PHOTOS
53
Video promo Cities for Life 2015
3:22

81 visits

239 visits

54 visits

63 visits

71 visits
all the related media