April 29, 2021

Malawi: Supreme Court Scraps Death Penalty

Malawi’s Supreme Court has outlawed the death penalty in a landmark ruling.

Since 1994, capital punishment has been reserved for those convicted of murder and treason. It has also been an option in the case of especially violent crimes such as robberies, house break-ins and burglaries.

On Wednesday, 28 April, Supreme Court judges heard the appeal of a murder convict.

In their ruling, they effectively abolished the death penalty by declaring it “unconstitutional” – while ordering the re-sentencing of all those convicted and awaiting execution.

The judgment has been hailed by many human rights groups as a victory against a punishment that often targets “the poorest in Malawi” and “those who cannot afford proper legal representation”.

According to Amnesty International, the southeastern African nation last carried out the fatal sentencing on approximately 24 prisoners in 1992 – it now joins 21 other nations in having abolished the death penalty.