Sierra Leone Lawmakers Vote To Abolish Death Penalty

July 24, 2021
Sierra Leone lawmakers 1

A majority of lawmakers in Sierra Leone’s parliament voted Friday to abolish the death penalty, according to a journalist who was present in the chamber. 

Capital punishment in the West African state will be replaced with life imprisonment or a minimum 30-year jail term.

No execution has taken place in the country since 1998, and death sentences have often been commuted.

Sierra Leone lawmakers

But Sierra Leone, which is still recovering after decades of civil war, has frequently come under fire from rights groups for keeping capital punishment on the books.

In May, Justice Minister Umaru Napoleon Koroma announced that the government would move to ban the death penalty to “uphold the fundamental human rights of Sierra Leoneans”.

President Julius Maada Bio must still sign off on the abolition voted by parliament.

A diamond-rich former British colony, the nation of 7.5 million people remains one of the poorest in the world.

Sierra Leone’s economy was ravaged by a 1991-2002 civil war that claimed 120,000 lives, followed by an Ebola epidemic from 2014 to 2016

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