Equatorial Guinea: Presidential announcement a welcome step towards abolishing the death penalty
Reacting to the news that Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema will propose a draft law to abolish the death penalty, Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Director said:
"This presidential announcement is a welcome move and, if the death penalty is abolished in Equatorial Guinea, the country will join more than half of the countries in the world that have consigned the cruel punishment to history – where it belongs.
"Now that the announcement is made, we hope that President Teodoro Obiang Nguema will immediately take necessary steps to ensure his announcement is implemented without delay. Abolishing the death penalty will be a positive step in improving Equatorial Guinea’s human rights record, particularly the protection of the right to life.
“We would also like this positive announcement to be followed by others in favour of the protection of freedoms of expression, opinion, association and assembly and for Equatorial Guinea to respect its human rights obligations.
“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime because the death penalty is a violation of the right to life. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more than prison terms."
Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema announced yesterday in Praia, Capo Verde, that he will soon submit to the country’s parliament a bill to abolish the death penalty, as required by the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).
The last executions recorded in Equatorial Guinea occurred in January 2014. Nine people convicted of murder were executed some days before the establishment of a temporary moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
In its annual Death Penalty Report, released last week, Amnesty International recorded a dramatic drop in executions worldwide. At least 690 executions took place in 20 countries in 2018, a decrease of 31% compared to 2017 (at least 993). This figure represents the lowest number of executions that Amnesty International has recorded in the past decade.