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80 Zimbabweans on death row; NGO urges Govt to abolish death penalty

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By Thandiwe Garusa


AT least 80 Zimbabweans are currently facing the hangman’s noose, amid calls by civic society organisations to abolish the death penalty as it breaches the right to life free from torture and degrading treatment.

Commemorating the World Day Against the Death Penalty, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum urged the State to adhere to international human rights best practices and take proactive steps towards striking the law off the statute books.

“The Forum, however, notes with great concern that despite efforts on the part of the government to move away from the imposition of the death penalty through the clemency order and presidential amnesty, more than 80 prisoners currently remain on death row.

“It is against this background that the Forum urges the government of Zimbabwe to abolish the death penalty as it undermines human dignity and clearly violates the state’s human rights obligations,” reads the statement.

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A global human rights NGO Amnesty International also urged Zimbabwe to follow other African countries and legislative bodies that have abolished the law and vote in favour of the upcoming resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

“We are hopeful that we will soon see bills to this aim adopted in Liberia, and Zambia – and great advances in our own country as well.

“As a step in that direction, we urge Zimbabwe to join most of the world’s countries and vote in favour of the forthcoming resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which is due to be introduced at the 77th session of the UNGA in November 2022.

“The vote on this UN resolution would go a long way to show to the international community our country’s commitment to the right to life and the abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment.”

No recorded execution has occurred in Zimbabwe since 2005, however courts have continued sentencing prisoners to death.