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Benin: Amnesty International petitions authorities to commute the sentence of 14 men on death row

    July 04, 2017

    Authorities in Benin must commute the death sentences hanging over 14 men following a 2016 Constitutional Court judgement that effectively abolished the death penalty for all crimes in the country, Amnesty International said today on the 5th anniversary of Benin’s accession to the UN treaty aiming at abolishing the death penalty.

    The organization is also calling on the authorities to provide the death row prisoners with adequate food and medical care, and ensure that national legislation is reviewed and reformed in order to remove all provisions pertaining to the death penalty in all relevant laws, for all crimes.

    “The judgment of the Constitutional Court last year which effectively abolished the death penalty for all crimes in Benin is remarkable and progressive. Despite this the status of 14 men who have been on death row in grim conditions for nearly two decades has not changed,” said Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Adviser on the death penalty

    “The authorities cannot continue to keep the men on death row when the court has abolished the death penalty, the uncertainty that hangs over the men needs to be resolved urgently through the commutation of their death sentences”.

    The 14 men are the last prisoners on death row in Benin. They have all been in prison for between 18 to 20 years. Benin’s government says it will not execute them, yet it has not commuted their death sentences. Conditions for them on death row are harsh as they are isolated from other prisoners and all share one cell. The last known execution in Benin was carried out in 1987.

    Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

    · To take action on the petition click here.

    · To read Amnesty International’s Briefing on the Death Penalty in Benin click here

    For more information please call Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca