Mugabe’s death penalty support ‘unfortunate’
Human rights group Amnesty International has criticised Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for declaring that he is in favour of resuming capital punishment, in response to rising murder rates.
Mugabe (93) said on Wednesday that although his Cabinet was divided on the issue, he favoured lifting the moratorium on executions. The last execution in the country was in 2005.
“Let’s restore the death penalty,” Mugabe said.
According to NewsDay, Amnesty International’s Zimbabwe director Cousin Zilala described Mugabe’s remarks as “unfortunate and a great departure from the rest of the world, where the majority have abolished the death penalty”. Over 90 prisoners are still on death row. Zimbabwe’s law allowed for the execution of people convicted of murder “in aggravating circumstances”. Women and offenders younger than 17 and older than 70 were exempt. The hangman’s job has been vacant for over a decade, but justice ministry permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza said more than 50 people had applied.