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'Great Advancement' in Ghana as Parliament Votes to Repeal Death Penalty

© AP Photo / Christian ThompsonGhana's national flag, center, flies in front of the Supreme Court building in the capital city of Accra, Ghana, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.
Ghana's national flag, center, flies in front of the Supreme Court building in the capital city of Accra, Ghana, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 26.07.2023
In Ghana, capital punishment has been mandatory for murder, treason, and a handful of other serious felonies under the law dating back to the 1960s. As of last year, the West African nation held 176 convicts on death row, though no one has been executed since 1993.
Ghana's parliament voted on July 25 to legally abolish the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment.
According to a parliamentary committee report, the new bill will amend the country's Criminal Offences Act and replace the death penalty with life imprisonment. The bill awaits President Nana Akufo-Addo's signature.
The amendment was introduced by Member of Parliament Francis-Xavier Sosu. According to the MP, opinion polls indicate that the majority of Ghanaians want the death penalty repealed. Sosu noted that the move would pave the way for the nation to create a free, safe and progressive society, while reflecting "our common belief that the sanctity of life is inviolable".
"This is a great advancement of the human rights record of Ghana," he said, adding: "Abolishing the death penalty shows that we are determined as a society not to be inhumane, uncivil, closed, retrogressive and dark."
The flags of African Union countries wave in the wind on June 29, 2011, at Malabo international airport on the eve of African Union's 17th summit in Sipopo City, a city built especially for the occasion near the capital Malabo.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 21.05.2023
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Despite having 176 convicts on death row and no official moratorium on capital punishment, no one has been executed in Ghana since 1993.

Ghana's legislation previously provided for the use of capital punishment for crimes such as treason under the Constitution; murder, genocide and some other serious felonies based on the 1960 Criminal Code and Other Offences Act. In addition, the 1962 Armed Forces Act allowed for the use of the death penalty for treason and mutiny by military personnel during wartime.

However, the Criminal Offenses Amendment Bill of 2022 and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill of 2022 were read for the third time and passed by the parliament, providing for the abolition of the death penalty in the country. Now, the death sentences of the 170 men and 6 women will be commuted to life imprisonment.
A London-based charity organization, the Death Penalty Project (DPP), had worked with Sosu to get the laws amended. According to the DPP, Ghana is the 29th country in Africa and the 124th in the world to repeal the death penalty.