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Crime Nigeria imposed more death sentences than any other sub-Saharan African country in 2017 — Report

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Nigeria imposed more death sentences than any other sub-Saharan African country in 2017 — Report

 

Nigeria imposed the highest number of death sentences in the sub-Saharan Africa region in 2017 with 621 people put to death, Amnesty International revealed in its 2017 global review of the death penalty published today.

The country bucked the trend seen elsewhere in the region, as Sub-Saharan Africa made great strides in the global fight to abolish the death penalty with a significant decrease in death sentences being imposed.

Guinea became the 20th state in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, while Kenya abolished the mandatory death penalty for murder. Burkina Faso and Chad also took steps to repeal this punishment with new or proposed laws.

“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. Unfortunately, some states in Nigeria continue to expand the scope of death sentences,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty.

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There are a total of 2,285 people on death row in Nigeria, which is also highest in the region, though no executions were carried out in 2017.

Death sentences in the country have spiked massively over the past two years. In 2015, 171 death sentences were handed down, while in 2016 there were 527.

“With governments in the region continuing to take steps to reduce and repeal the death penalty well into 2018, the isolation of the world’s remaining executing countries – such as Nigeria – could not be starker.

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“Now 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 abhorrent punishment to the history books.”

Amnesty International recorded a drop in the number of executing countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, from five in 2016 to two in 2017, with only South Sudan and Somalia known to have carried out executions. However, with reports that Botswana and Sudan resumed executions in 2018, the organization highlighted that this must not overshadow the positive steps being taken by other countries across the region.

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Gambia signed an international treaty committing the country not to carry out executions and moving to abolish the death penalty. The Gambian president Adama Barrow established an official moratorium (temporary ban) on executions in February 2018.

Amnesty International recorded at least 993 executions in 23 countries in 2017, down by 4% from 2016 (1,032 executions) and 39% from 2015 (when the organization reported 1,634 executions, the highest number since 1989). At least 2,591 death sentences in 53 countries were recorded in 2017, a significant decrease from the record-high of 3,117 recorded in 2016. These figures do not include the thousands of death sentences and executions that Amnesty International believes were imposed and implemented in China, where figures remain classified as a state secret.

From: Daily Trust

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