The release further states that today is a remarkable moment in the history of Sierra Leone, as AdvocAid has been campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty since it was founded in 2006.
However, the death penalty was provided by the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone for crimes like aggravated robbery, murder, treason, and mutiny. As of June 2020, there were 99 people on death row, the last execution was done in 1998 when 24 officers were shot on a beach near Freetown for an attempted coup.
The abolition of this law makes Sierra Leone the 23 country in Africa to abolish the capital punishment, joining West African neighbors Guinea, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Togo. Meanwhile, the AdvocAid Legal Manager, Julia Gbloh states that: “The death penalty is the act of legalizing murder and its abolishment highlights a new dawn in our nation.”
With the abolishment, capital punishment has been replaced by life imprisonment (or at least 30 years in jail). The Executive Officer of AdvocAid, Rhiannon Davis said that this is a landmark decision as it will give the judiciary scope to consider in their sentencing the factors that lead women to come into contact with the law, which often includes histories of poverty and gender-based violence.
Lastly, AdvocAid congratulates all the civil society partners, human rights organizations, donors, international partners, the men and women on death row that worked together over the years to achieve this history today.
See the full press release below: