Zimbabwean gov't presses ahead to abolish death penalty: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-19 21:43:16|Editor: xuxin
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HARARE, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government is pressing ahead with plans to have the death penalty removed from its statutes, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi has said.

The Herald newspaper reported Wednesday that Ziyambi, told the Senate thematic committee on human rights earlier this week that debate would be held on Constitutional amendments to end death by hanging in line with international trends.

He said Zimbabwe had streamlined categories of people liable for the death penalty to underscore its resentment of capital punishment.

Committee chairperson Oliver Chidawu (ZANU-PF) asked Ziyambi how far the government had gone towards abolishing the death penalty.

In response, Ziyambi said Zimbabwe had not executed convicts on death row since 2005.

"From 2005 we have had no execution. The 2013 Constitution was an improvement from the previous one in that women can no longer be sentenced to death. Those under the age of 21 are no longer sentenced to death. Those over 70 are spared the death penalty," Ziyambi said.

"Only males over 21 and below 70 can be sentenced to death, which we believe is a great improvement from the previous position that we had," he said.

"The President is desirous that we remove it but that will also entail us amending the Constitution to ensure that is taken care of. But over and above that, I think we have done a lot to ensure that we respect the right to life. We have not been executing and we have limited the category of people who can be sentenced to death," he said.

Ziyambi said through debate in Parliament, legislators should decide whether to remove the death penalty or not.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa early this year commuted to life imprisonment the death sentences of prisoners who had been on death row for more than 10 years.