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Uzbekistan abolishes the death penalty

The trend towards total abolition of the death penalty has continued with Uzbekistan becoming the latest country to put an end to executions. From 1 January 2008, it becomes the 135th country in the world to abolish the death penalty in law or practice. Capital punishment has now been replaced with life or long-term imprisonment. Amnesty International welcomes this move towards ending this cruel and inhumane practice. There is concern that, prior to the abolition of the death penalty, relatives of executed prisoners were not informed about the dates and places of their execution and burial. Amnesty International urges the authorities of Uzbekistan to honour its commitment as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to “make available to the public information regarding the use of the death penalty”.  They should ensure that the families of those executed receive full access to such information and be allowed to collect the executed prisoners’ personal effects. Amnesty International calls on the few remaining territories in the former Soviet Union which retain the death penalty to fully abolish it, thus making the whole region a death penalty-free zone. The only remaining executioner in Europe is Belarus, where the last reported execution took place in December 2007.