You are here: HomeAfrica2021 07 25Article 1316827

Africa News of Sunday, 25 July 2021


'Death penalty has no place in 21st century' - UN chief hails Sierra Leone law

Julius Maada Bio is President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio is President of Sierra Leone

The United Nations Secretary General has lauded Sierra Leone for abolishing the death penalty late last week.

"Today (July 23), I have fulfilled a governance pledge to permanently abolish the death penalty in Sierra Leone. I thank citizens, members of Parliament, development partners, and rights groups that have steadfastly stood with us to make history," Sierra Leone president, Julius Maada Bio, posted on Twitter as he signed a law permanently abolishing the death penalty in the West African country.

"I commend the Parliament of Sierra Leone for their unanimous vote to abolish the death penalty. The death penalty has no place in the 21st century," Antonio Guterres posted on Twitter on Saturday.

The Sierra Leone Parliament last Friday unanimously voted to get rid of the measure which had been on the books for decades.

In place of the death penalty, convicts will now be handed life imprisonment, according to the new law.

Rights group Amnesty International reported that no executions have been effected since 1998 even though a total of 39 death sentences were handed down in 2020.

Death sentences have often been commuted, but by the end of last year 94 people were still on death row, Amnesty said.

Sierra Leone becomes the 23rd African country to have abolished the death penalty.