Zimbabwe: Commuting death sentences a commendable first step

In response to the decision by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to commute the death sentences of prisoners who have been on death row for more than 10 years, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said:

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s has taken a very progressive step in deciding to spare the prisoners from the hangman’s noose
Muleya Mwananyanda, Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa

“President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s has taken a very progressive step in deciding to spare the prisoners from the hangman’s noose. His action is commendable, but he must build on this positive momentum by ensuring that Zimbabwe abolishes the death penalty completely.

President Mnangagwa must build on this positive momentum by ensuring that Zimbabwe abolishes the death penalty completely
Muleya Mwananyanda

“Countries around the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa, are moving away from using the death penalty. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty has a greater deterrent effect on crime than imprisonment. We call on President Mnangagwa to move swiftly to establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing this cruel and inhuman punishment altogether.”

Background

President Mnangagwa has invoked the provisions of section 112 of the constitution of Zimbabwe to commute to life imprisonment the death sentences of prisoners on death row for more than 10 years.

Zimbabwe has not carried out any executions since 2005.