Venezuelan Cardinal Rejects Death Penalty

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CARACAS, Venezuela, JULY 30, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A life sentence is an appropriate punishment for the numerous crimes committed in this country, said the archbishop of Caracas. But he rejected the death penalty as «a punishment that attacks human rights.»

«In face of massive crime, which brings the country to its knees in insecurity, the state institutions should apply more severe punishments, such as life sentences,» Cardinal Ignacio Velasco told the media present at the second Plenary Council of Venezuela.

Yet, he said, even though such punishment is defensible, it «is not the most ideal» measure.

Cardinal Velasco appealed to the «executive, legislative, judicial and citizens´» powers, and to President Hugo Chávez to meet and decide on how to bring an end to the «scourge of delinquency» in Venezuela.

Earlier this month, Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo called for the abolition of the death penalty in his country. In May, a new law in Chile banned the death penalty.

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