16 March 2017 :Dedication to the President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade
Hands Off Cain’s annual report on the death penalty is dedicated to the President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade. President Wade is the author of the foreword to this edition and the recipient of the Abolitionist of the Year 2005 Award, inaugurated this year by Hands Off Cain in recognition of outstanding commitment in favour of a moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty.
Abdoulaye Wade was elected President of Senegal on March 19, 2000, forty years after the country’s independence and in the first presidential elections to be considered truly free and impartial by international observers.
On January 17, 2001, the nation approved a new constitution that for the first time recognised women’s right to own land. After the April 2001 parliamentary elections, the country’s first female prime minister was appointed. This was another first for the 94% Muslim-majority nation.
The Constitution of Senegal does not make a specific mention of the death penalty. It protects the right to life, stating that ‘the human being is sacred and inviolable. The state has the duty to respect and protect the human being.’
On July 15, 2004, Senegal’s Cabinet approved a draft bill to abolish the death penalty proposed by President Wade. The same day, the President submitted the bill to Parliament. The files on the four people on death row were sent to President Wade for review, and their death sentences were commuted to jail terms.
On December 10, 2004, on the World Human Rights’ Day, the National Assembly abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Senegal became the third African country with a Muslim-majority population to abolish the death penalty completely.