EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 46/03/93
24 June 1993
Further information on EXTRA 29/93 (AFR 46/01/93, 15 March 1993 - and follow-up
AFR 46/02/93, 16 March 1993 - Death Penalty
Martin Bechani Bakaka
Luke Kingsize Chiliko
John Chakara Zacharia Marichi
The four prisoners named above who were due to be executed in Chikurubi Maximum
Security Prison in Harare on 16 March 1993 have in each case had the sentence
of death commuted to life imprisonment.
This decision was taken on 24 June 1993 at the hearing of an appeal lodged
in the Supreme Court by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace which
urged that the sentences of death should be commuted on the grounds that the
death penalty violated Zimbabwe's constitution forbidding inhuman punishment.
It particularly expressed concern at the length of time which had elapsed since
the sentences were passed and the conditions in which the prisoners were held.
After passing its unanimous decision, the Supreme Court also ruled that steps
should be taken to improve the procedures relating to the death penalty, in
terms of minimizing delays in the hearing of cases and in the appeals procedure.
This is an opportune moment for Amnesty International to call for the abolition
of the death penalty in Zimbabwe.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes in English or your
- welcoming the decision taken by the Supreme Court on 24 June 1993 to commute
the death sentence in the case of the four prisoners above to life imprisonment;
- stating that the result of the ruling clearly shows that the death penalty
is a violation of Zimbabwe's consitution which forbids inhuman punishment and
as such should be abolished;
- urging that the Zimbabwe authorities take immediate steps towards reviewing
the use of the death penalty in Zimbabwe with a view to implementing its
1) President Robert Mugabe
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Office of the President