KYRGYZSTAN ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY
January 29, 2007: the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan has adopted a new constitution specifically banning all taking of life and lawyers are now drafting revisions to its legal code replacing the maximum criminal sentence of death by firing squad with long prison terms.
Many independent lawyers and human rights activists here have welcomed this as an unequivocal ban on all state executions, saying the reforms were more progressive on this than anything in the constitutions of their immediate neighbours- Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China.
The new Kyrgyz constitution came into full force when President Kurmanbek Bakiev signed it on January 16, 2007. "Every person in the Kyrgyz Republic has an inalienable right to life. No one can be deprived of life," article 14 declares. "The death penalty has been abolished," a spokesperson on the parliamentary judicial reforms committee announced at a press conference immediately after the deputies approved the new constitution on December 30. (Sources: IPS, 29/01/2007)