Liberian Rights Campaigner Calls for Repealing of Death Penalty Law

Rights Campaigner Adama Dempster at the Intellectual Contemporary Museum

Human rights and justice campaigner, Adama Dempster, has called for the repealing of the provision in the Liberian law which prescribes the death penalty for capital offenses.

Section 14.1, 50.5, and 51.3 of the criminal procedures law or panel code of Liberia says a person can be sentenced to death for committing crimes including murder and armed robbery. Despite Liberia signing onto several international protocols against such law, capital punishment remains a law in the country.

But speaking as a guest lecturer at awareness on the occasion marking World Day Against the Death Penalty in Monrovia during the weekend, Mr. Adama Dempster expressed disappointment that citizens are still being sentenced to death for capital offenses, while other countries are making efforts to abolish the law.

Dempster believes the death penalty has not helped in curtailing crimes worldwide, as such Liberia should ‘step up to the plate to repeal the law prescribing capital punishment.

In furtherance, Mr. Dempster recalled thirteen Liberian government officials were sentenced to death during the regime of then President Samuel K. Doe on allegations of corruption but said the killing of those men has made no impact in the fight against maleficence.

“I remember 13 government officials were killed on the basis of corruption”.

“The killing of those people didn’t take corruption away. The death penalty is not benefiting us. There are other ways people can be punished for wrongdoings”.

Besides, Mr. Dempster said God is the only giver of life, so, it’s wrong to take away the life of other people.

“Human rights come from God. So, the life you did not give you cannot take. You only take what you give. You can’t take what you can’t give”.

Even though crimes perpetuated against others should not be condoned, the rights advocate thinks there are other punishments such as life imprisonment should rather be applied.

“In as much a person’s action may be cruel, you cannot take the life of another person”.

According to Dempster. 15 persons have been sentenced to death, and even though they are yet to be killed, they remain in jail.

“Liberia has 15 persons now to be killed either by hanging or firing”.

“The last time we killed 13 persons here for corruption and corruption has grown teeth. Death penalty is not helping to fight crimes”.

“We’ve come again to call on the government to abolish the death penalty”.

October 10 is celebrated globally as World Day Against the Death Penalty, and is being observed under the theme “Link Between Torture and the Death Penalty”.

In Liberia, the day was celebrated by Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture in Liberia (ACAT Liberia). ACAT Liberia, in commemoration of the day, held awareness against death penalty. Over the weekend, the group held awareness with members of the Intellectual Contemporary Museum and the Point-4 Intellectual Center of Bushrod Island.

With support from the International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT) and the French Development Agency, ACAT-Liberia reached out to communities in Monrovia creating awareness death penalty. The rights campaigner, Adam Dempster, served as the resource person on the awareness exercise.

ACAT, as Christians in Action against Torture, Capital Punishment and Gender-based violence, acts on behalf of all those who are tortured, detained, held in inhumane conditions, executed, or missing regardless of origin, political opinion, etc.

ACAT chooses to be an ecumenical association of Christians of various denominations and independent of any working for the prospective of Christianity. ACAT holds prayers as the center of its action, reconciliation of humankind with God and the liberation of Victims.

ACAT-Liberia is grouped in an International Federation (FIACAT) with 30 affiliated groups located on 6 continents.

Since its registration with the Government of Liberia in 2004, ACAT-Liberia has been promoting, protecting and advocating human rights, especially inmates and torture victims and providing assistance to victims of human rights violations and abuses.

ACAT-Liberia was established predicated upon the rapid degeneration of human rights in Liberia and the increasing need to combine voices in the struggle for respect for basic human rights, especially those of the detention sector, political and civil rights and the abolition of torture and gender-based violence.

VISION

Seek a torture and death penalty free society where all people enjoy fair and inhumane treatment.

MISSION

ACAT-Liberia seeks to abolish and/or prevent the commission of torture and other forms of human rights abuses and promotes the rights and care of victims/survivors, as well as protects individuals from all forms human right abuses by advocating for legal and policy reforms, monitoring Government’s adherence to the promotion and protection of human rights, rehabilitating victims/survivors of torture and other human rights abuses or violence and building the capacity of key stakeholders.

ACAT-Liberia also heightens the consciousness of Churches and of Christians of the existence of torture and of the necessity, in light of their faith, to strive for its abolition.

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