SIERRA LEONE: PARLIAMENT DEBATES BILL TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY
July 21, 2021:
Sierra Leone Telegraph on 20 July 2021 reported that MPs last week debated new laws that will abolish the death penalty in the case of persons convicted in Sierra Leone for murder under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, robbery with aggravation under the Larceny Act, 1916, mutiny under the Sierra Leone Military Forces Act 1961, treason and other related offences under the Treason and State Offences Act 1963. (Source: Sierra Leone Telegraph, 20/07/2021)
If passed into law, the new Act will make alternative provisions for the punishment of those who committed murder under the above Acts.
Presenting the Bill, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Anthony Y. Brewah said that the intention of the Bill is not to eliminate the various offences, but to abolish the death penalty as a maximum sentence from our law books.
Hindolo Moiwo Gevao MP, described the day as historic and thanked President Bio for the implementation of his manifesto promise on the abolition of the death penalty from our law books. He recalled how leaders had used it to eliminate political opponents like Mohamed Sorie Fornah, Kula Samba and others; adding it has been expunged from the law books of most democratic countries in the world on the grounds that it had not prevented people from killing people, be it intentionally or not. Referring to the death penalty as an archaic law, he called for its replacement with life imprisonment.
The Leader of the Opposition, Chernor R.M. Bah said the sanctity of lives should not be mortgaged by either judicial or extrajudicial killings. He recalled how former president Ernest Bai Koroma had apologized in Moyamba for judicial killings perpetrated under the All People’s Congress (APC). He was opposed to disproportionate use of force that had been used by the police resulting in the loss of lives in several places in the country. Thanking President Bio and Parliament for the repeal, he promised that they would follow the process to the latter to ensure that the Bill would stand the test of time.
The Presiding Speaker of Parliament, Sengepoh Solomon Thomas has called on Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations to submit inputs in the form of either position papers or otherwise on the abolition of the death penalty, through the Office of the Clerk of Parliament for consideration by the Leadership of Parliament tomorrow 21st July,2021 at 10:00 AM.