Anti-Death Penalty Campaign in 2nd Stage

«Touch Not Cain» Collecting Signatures for Worldwide Moratorium

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ROME, MARCH 17, 2002 ( An online campaign to collect signatures has been launched in Spain by the Touch Not Cain organization, to request a worldwide moratorium on capital punishment.

Sergio D´Elia, secretary of Touch Not Cain (, told Vatican Radio ( that it is the campaign´s second stage. It began last year in Rome and will eventually be launched in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Athens and Washington, D.C.

The signatures collected worldwide on Internet will be given to the United Nations in 2003, along with a moratorium proposal.

«The situation of the death penalty has two sides,» D´Elia said. «Over these years, the countries have increased — at the rate of three a year — that have given up the death penalty, either because they have abolished it all together or because in fact they don´t apply it.»

«However, although the abolitionist countries increase, in reality we have verified that executions have also increased,» he said. «This happens because countries like China and other totalitarian, dictatorial and fundamentalist countries continue to apply it.»

In these countries, «beyond the death penalty, the problem is the absence of democracy, of religious liberty,» D´Elia said. «The state of law is precisely the problem; hence, the struggle is for democracy, even before it is for the abolition of capital punishment.»

D´Elia explained that the situation in the United States has changed notably in recent years. «Some states of the union have put the moratorium into practice, others are even debating the abolition of the death penalty,» he said. «In the United States, the question of the death penalty is no longer an unmentionable taboo. There is also an important debate in the political world.»

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