Zambia abolishes death penalty News
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Zambia abolishes death penalty

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema Friday assented to Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2022, abolishing the law of the death penalty in Zambia. On May 24 Hichilema took a pledge to abolish the death penalty in the country and coordinate with the Parliament of Zambia to end the cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. UN OHCHR supported President Hichilema’s decision and urged: 

to promptly bolster the President’s pledge with tangible legal reforms, including amending the Penal Code Act and the Criminal Procedure Code Act to remove capital provisions there, as well as re-launching the Constitutional Reform process to expand the Bill of Rights, including with explicit prohibition of the death penalty.

Amnesty International welcomed the amendment and stated that with this amendment, Zambia becomes the 25th nation in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

East and Southern Africa’s Regional Director, Tigere Chagutah said:

Amnesty International welcomes the announcement by President Hichilema that the death penalty has been abolished in Zambia. This is a good and progressive move that shows the country’s commitment to protecting the right to life. We also commend President Hichilema for quashing the offence of criminal defamation of the president, used until recently to muzzle free speech and unjustifiably limit freedom of expression in the country.

Amnesty International also urged Zambia to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at the abolition of the death penalty. In its latest report on the death penalty, Amnesty International reported that executions in sub-Saharan Africa increased from 16 in 2020 to 33 in 2021.

British High Commissioner to Zambia, Nicholas Woolley also supported President Hichilema’s decision and called it a “landmark and progressive step.”

Along with abolishing the death penalty, the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2022 also abolishes the offence of criminal defamation of the President.