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Zimbabwe's appointment of new hangman raises spectre of imminent
February 08, 2013
Reports by Zimbabwean
state media that a new hangman has been appointed raises fears that
the country may be preparing to start executions again after a seven
year hiatus, Amnesty International said today.
conducted any executions since 2005, the same year that the country's
last hangman retired.
macabre recruitment is disturbing and suggests that Zimbabwe does
not want to join the global trend towards abolition of this cruel,
inhuman and degrading form of punishment," said Noel Kututwa,
Amnesty International's southern Africa director.
penalty is a violation of the right to life which is recognized
in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments
to which Zimbabwe is a state party."
Constitution, which will be put to referendum in the next few months,
exempts women, men under 21 at the time of the crime and the over
70s from the death penalty. It also prohibits the imposition of
the death penalty as a mandatory punishment.
proposed limitations to the application of the death penalty are
welcome, Amnesty International calls for the death penalty to be
abolished fully in the new Constitution regardless of gender and
the circumstances in which a crime was committed.
penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated
and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state," said
the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the
nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the
method used by the state to kill the prisoner."
is aware of at least 76 people on death row in Zimbabwe at present.
Of these 76, only two are women. The practical impact of the provisions
under the current draft to exempt women would therefore not significantly
reduce the use of the death penalty.
has been campaigning for total abolition of the death penalty in
the context of the constitution-making process since 2009, and for
the recognition of economic, social and cultural rights in a new
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