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Africa News of Saturday, 24 July 2021


Sierra Leone prez signs law abolishing death penalty

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

Sierra Leone president, Julius Maada Bio, has signed a law permanently abolishing the death penalty in the West African country.

Parliament had earlier 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.

The abolishing of death penalty was a campaign promise from President Maada Bio who celebrated the move as historic.

"Today, 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," he posted on Twitter.

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.