Pope Francis calls for prayers for abolition of death penalty

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The head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, Pope Francis, has declared September as the month to pray for the abolition of death penalty in every country.

Pope Francis who was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, made the declaration on 31st July where he also called the entire Catholic Church to pray for the abolition of the capital punishment saying it attacks the dignity of the human person.

He said the fact that there is a growing rejection of the death penalty around the world on each passing day, proves that the global does not need the capital punishment which he has described as not necessary from a legal point of view.

The Head of the Catholic Church in his address further indicated that the society can effectively repress crime without definitively depriving the offenders of the possibility of redeeming themselves.

“Always, in every legal sentence, there must be a window of hope. Capital punishment offers no justice to victims, but rather encourages revenge. And it prevents any possibility of undoing a possible miscarriage of justice.

“I, therefore, call on all people of goodwill to mobilize for the abolition of the death penalty throughout the world.

Let us pray that the death penalty, which attacks the dignity of the human person, may be legally abolished in every country,” said Pope Francis.

Pope Francis further told the world that in the light of the Gospel, the death penalty is unacceptable and says the commandment; ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ refers to both the innocent and the guilty.

He said the death penalty is morally inadmissible, for it destroys the most important gift, life, and he also reminded the world that up to the very last moment, a person can convert and change, therefore no need for execution.

Meanwhile, Alexious Kamangila, human rights lawyer who is advocating for the abolition of the capital punishment in the country, described Pope Francis’s call as timely and expressed hope that the call will be adhered to.

“Pope’s call is not a surprise as he has been an ardent advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.  His call for September is timely for Malawi, as Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee presented a report in Parliament urging Malawi to Abolish the death penalty following nationwide Consultations.

“Pope’s call summarises beautifully the reasons why death penalty should be abolished. Hoping the call by the Pope will be adhered to,” said Kamangila.

This is coming when recently, an inquiry report by the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) recommended that the country should abolish death penalty following public inquiry which it instituted amid heated debate on the matter.

Apart from holding meetings with other relevant stakeholders, the committee also held three public inquiries, one in each region where the public and other stakeholders expressed support for the abolition of death penalty.

However, last month majority of members of parliament through a voice vote, rejected PLAC’s recommendations on death penalty abolition.

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