LIBERIA. RIGHTS GROUPS CONCERNED OVER DEATH PENALTY LEGISLATION
|President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia's "Iron Lady"
May 8, 2008: human rights groups in Liberia expressed concern over a law approved by parliament this week calling for the death penalty.
The West African nation is in the grip of rising crime and police have called for tougher laws to address the problem. Parliament voted through the tough new law that calls for the death penalty for those convicted of armed robbery, hijacking and acts of terrorism resulting in victims' deaths.
"The parliament did not consult the civil society before taking that decision," Dempster Brown, the head of a coalition of Liberian human rights groups, said.
The president still has to sign the law for it to take effect. It is unclear whether that will happen as Liberia is a signatory to an international agreement aimed at abolishing capital punishment.
"If the president signed any document internationally to abolish the death penalty, the parliament is not aware of it. Nothing was ratified by the assembly," parliament spokesperson Isaac Red said. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 08/05/2008)