Parliament repeals death penalty

Sika Togoh
Sika Togoh
3 Min Read

The death penalty has officially been repealed from Ghana’s statute books after parliament approved an amendment to the Criminal and Other Offences Act.

The amendment bill, sponsored by Madina MP Francis Xavier Sosu, was passed on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, waiting for the president’s assent.

Speaking to the media, Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin noted that the passing of the amendment bill is one to celebrate especially since international human rights institutions condemned the death penalty provision as repugnant.

He stated that amending the Criminal and Other Offences Act is a good way of making room for new forms of sentencing.

“We have had a death penalty in our statute books for well over 50 years. It has been a concern. I’m happy to say that we have by this amendment of the parent act been able to repeal that provision that deals with the death penalty. So simply put, the death penalty is no more a punishment in our statutes,” he stated.

Mr Afenyo-Markin noted that the repealing of the death penalty is not to encourage murder, a crime that previously could lead a convict to be put on death row.

“What we are saying is that God gives us life and under no circumstances should a person’s life be taken merely because of committing such an offence. That is not to say that those who take it upon themselves to take the lives of others are being encouraged to do so,” he stated.

For sometime now, civil society groups and human rights centred organizations have been clamouring for Parliament to scrap the death penalty from the statute books in Ghana and rather amend the law to prescribe life sentences to convicted persons in the highest offences of the land(murder,treason and genocide) which attracts the death penalty to be in line with International conventions of which Ghana is a signatory to.

Since 1993, no persons have been executed in the country on the conviction of death penalty which has triggerd the conversations on the repeal of the law by Parliament.

The last time people were executed in Ghana was over 30 years ago, when 12 persons handed the death penalty were executed by firing squad.

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