Amnesty International is mobilizing campaigns for change to abolish the Death penalty in Ghana and has called on stakeholders especially the Government to support its course to purge the nation of that harsh sentence.
A death sentence, the highest form of sentence, it said, was the ultimate cruel, torturous and inhuman act, meted out to individuals who flouted the highest law of the land.
Highlighting the 2020 death penalty statistics, Dr. Vincent Adzahile-Mensah, the Research Fellow and International Board Member of Amnesty International, said a minimum of 1,477 persons had been killed worldwide under the ‘unfair penalty’.
He indicated, that beheading, electrocuting, hanging, applying lethal injection, shooting by firing squad were the major forms of killing, if the death penalty was pronounced on individuals.
“And per statistics, this figure has even reduced by 26 percent as compared to figures recorded in 2019 and of which 487 have been confirmed executed with 16 women involved.”
Mr Adzahile-Mensah revealed that in Ghana alone, 200 people including; five women have been sentenced to death as against at least 28,567 persons worldwide adding that there was the need to take action in the interest of humanity.
Launching the 2020 death penalty report Mr George Aggrey, Board Chairman for Amnesty International noted that his outfit opposed the death penalty in all cases without exemption to the nature of the circumstances or the offence committed.
He said because of the unpleasant nature of the law encompassing death penalty, some countries have completely abolished the concept while others have chosen to make executions a state secret.
Speaking on the role of Civil Society Organizations in facilitating the amendment process, Mr. Martin Kpebu a private legal practitioner said all must work to convince the Executive arm of Government how critical and vital the issue of the abolition of the death penalty meant to the people of Ghana.
“Let’s gather signatories, petitions and engage the general populace to advocate amendment that would facilitate the total abolishment, mass swearing of support would fetch us the success and change we wish to see “he added.
On the role of Parliament, Mr Francis Xavier Sosu, a Deputy Ranking Member, Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, said parliament especially the Minority, was passionate about the abolishment of the death penalty.
He said it was necessary for convicts to pay for their bad deeds, but death was not an option because the main focus of punishment was to reform convicts other than waste their lives.
He also pledged his commitment in supporting what he described as a ‘good course’ in seeing a future, where the good people of Ghana would remove death as a form of punishment for wrong doing.