Malawi bans ‘unconstitutional’ death penalty

Malawi’s top court banned the death penalty on Wednesday and required that all convicts facing execution be resentenced. 

In Malawi, capital punishment has long been mandatory for those convicted of murder or treason, but it is optional for those convicted of rape. 

Robberies, break-ins, and burglaries that are violent can result in death sentence or life imprisonment. 

However, no executions have been carried out since Bakili Muluzi, Malawi’s first constitutionally elected president, resisted the penalty when he took office in 1994. 

In a landmark ruling, the death penalty was ruled “unconstitutional” by Supreme Court judges hearing an appeal by a murder prisoner on Wednesday, effectively abolishing the penalty. 

According to the judgement, “the death penalty… is tainted by the unconstitutionality discussed,”

According to Amnesty International, Malawi last executed about two dozen prisoners in 1992. 

More than 30 African countries still have the death penalty, but just about half of them have carried out executions in recent years.

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