Parliament passes Criminal Offences Amendment Act, removes death penalty

Story: News Desk

Parliament has passed the Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 2022 which seeks to replace the death penalty with a life sentence.

In Ghana, the death penalty is imposed after a conviction for murder, attempt to commit murder, genocide, or piracy and smuggling of gold or diamond.

However, some human rights activists have argued that the death penalty is too final and irreversible, thereby demanding a replacement with a life sentence.

Passing the bill, Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, said, “The Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 2022 is duly read the third time and duly passed.”

The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin said the passage of the bill called for celebration as a country.

Although the death penalty was inherited from the colonial administration as a punishment for murder, attempted murder, genocide, piracy, and smuggling of gold or diamonds, successive presidents of Ghana have not signed a death warrant for the execution of offenders since 1993.

Meanwhile the  Member of Parliament (MP) for the Madina constituency Francis-Xavier Sosu, says MPs have made the country proud by removing the death penalty.

Speaking with the media,  the MP who solely pushed for the passage of the Act applauded his colleague MPs for doing what is necessary.

“I think that there have been very sound arguments in support of abolishing the death penalty, and the arguments are researched-based. The death penalty is too final. Parliament today did the needful and made Ghana proud in the Comity of Nations by abolishing the death penalty. I think this is a good thing for Ghana,” the MP remarked.

However, a religious lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Harry Agbanu, who thinks otherwise, expressed dissatisfaction with the passage of the Criminal Offences Amendment Act 2022.

He argued that the removal of the death penalty will encourage lots of citizens to take the law into their hands.

“The floodgate has been opened for violent, criminal activities by some members of society, and that is unfortunate. I’m praying that the opportunities won’t be created for people to take the law into their own hands by engaging in mob action. There has not been any sound argument in favour of the abolishment of the death penalty,” he asserted.

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