July 26, 2023

Ghana: Parliament Repeals Capital Punishment

The Parliament of Ghana has introduced a new bill that will effectively do away with the country’s death penalty.

The legislative amendment to the Criminal Offences Act – which dictates trading life imprisonment for the death penalty – was voted in on Tuesday, 25 July. Opinion polls before the time strongly indicated that Ghanaians were in favour of abolition.

Ghana became the latest African country to repeal capital punishment, a move which has been heralded as a “great advancement of the human rights record” for the nation, says parliamentarian Francis-Xavier Sosu, who forwarded the bill with the backing of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The last time a person was executed in the west African country was in 1993. However, per recent prison statistics, 170 men and six women are currently on death row, seven of whom were sentenced last year.

“Death row prisoners woke up thinking this could be their last day on earth. They were like the living dead: psychologically, they had ceased to be humans,” Sosu explained. He added that the abolition of the death penalty proved that “our common belief that the sanctity of life is inviolable.”

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