Ghana Ends Death Penalty For All Crimes But One

( – Amnesty International has been campaigning to end the death penalty across the globe since 1977. While it’s still used in many countries, including the United States, the organization has had some success. In fact, another nation recently voted to get rid of capital punishment.

On July 25, Ghana’s parliament voted to end the death penalty in the country, with one exception. Anyone convicted of treason could still be put to death. Previously, murder, genocide, smuggling, and piracy were all capital crimes. There are currently 176 people on death row in the African nation, including six women. Those prisoners will likely receive new life sentences.

Ghana has not executed anyone since 1993. However, judges in the country still handed down death sentences in the 30 years after the last prisoner was put to death. According to experts, even though parliament voted to end capital punishment, the country’s constitution must still be amended to strip it completely. President Nana Akufo-Addo will have to sign the new law, as well.

MP Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu sponsored the bill. The Guardian reported that when the vote was over, he said killing someone who commits a crime doesn’t make the victims feel as if they’ve received “justice,” and it hasn’t deterred others from committing capital offenses. He continued, saying he introduced the legislation because he believes the country is better than that.

Ghana has now become the 29th African nation to vote to end the death penalty. Zambia, Sierra Leone, and the Central African Republic have all ended it in the past five years. Ghana is the 124th country to end it across the globe.

Samira Daoud, the West and Central Africa director of Amnesty International, said the vote was “a victory” for all those who were working to “strengthen the protection of the right to life.” The director hopes to consign the death penalty to history.

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