Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe to cut back on hangings

2012-03-28 22:44

Special Report

PHOTO: Zim activist abducted, left for dead
PHOTO: Zim activist abducted, left for dead

Pro-democracy activists in Zimbabwe are worried that a period of gross human rights abuses may be returning to the southern African nation after a prominent social rights activist was abducted by unknown assailants this week and left for dead in Harare.

Harare - Zimbabwe's constitutional affairs minister says the death penalty will be dropped except in extreme cases of aggravated murder under a proposed new constitution.

Minister Eric Matinenga said on Wednesday only killers who commit "gratuitous violence to the extent it becomes sickening" will be hanged.

In a compromise between human rights groups and traditional supporters of capital punishment, it will be up to judges to rule on the level of violence used.

Matinenga said the fate of at least 61 prisoners on death row will be considered on individual merits if the measure is adopted in a September constitutional referendum.

No executions have been carried out under the three-year old coalition government. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's former opposition party has voiced its disapproval of hanging.

Read more on:    morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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