Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio signed a bill Friday that abolishes the death penalty in the country. The new law makes Sierra Leone the 23rd African country to officially abolish the death penalty.
Previously, the country’s legal regime allowed the death penalty for those convicted of murder, treason, mutiny, or aggravated robbery. Sierra Leone’s Criminal Procedure Acts also specified that the execution shall be by hanging or, in the case of court-martial, by firing squad.
In 2020, there were 39 death sentences. However, none of those executions were carried out. The last executions in the country were carried out in 1998.
In February, President Maada officially gave the directives for the death penalty to be abolished. In July, the Parliament of Sierra Leone passed a bill abolishing the death penalty. That bill was then signed into law by President Maada on Friday.
On the abolition of the death penalty, President Maada tweeted:
With the abolition of the death penalty in Sierra Leone, we today assert our belief in the sanctity of life; affirm every citizen’s constitutional right to life; and, commit ourselves to a future of great optimism, social justice, and respect for all persons.