Church Glad as Senegal Moves to Ban Death Penalty

DAKAR, Senegal, DEC. 13, 2004 ( The Church in Senegal expressed satisfaction over the Dakar Parliament’s approval of a law abolishing the death penalty.

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«I am happy to see that Senegalese society has at last understood that the death penalty does not necessarily resolve social deviations nor is it above all a good method to fight against insecurity,» said Father Alfred Wally Sarr, the secretary-general of the Senegalese bishops’ conference.

«The Church cannot but rejoice over this. This decision reminds us of our faith, according to which life is a gift of God,» he told the Missionary Service News Agency.

Father Sarr said he shared the affirmations of a Muslim deputy who said during a radio broadcast that «the abolition of the death penalty is consistent with Islam, a religion of forgiveness and mercy.» About 94% of the Senegal’s 10.8 million people profess Islam.

The bill still awaits the signature of President Abdoulaye Wade, who previously promised to abolish the death penalty.

Senegal has carried out two death sentences in its 44 years of independence. Elsewhere in western Africa, the death penalty has been formally abolished in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Ivory Coast.

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