At 3:15 PM on Friday 23 July 2021, the Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu ruled from his Chair by repeating the words, “the ayes have it, the ayes have it”, following a vote or decision of unanimity by the Parliament of Sierra Leone on the abolition and removal of the death penalty from the law books of Sierra Leone.
The death penalty has therefore been abolished and removed from the law books of Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone has joined 119 countries in the world that have abolished the death penalty, including 21 countries in Africa, a remark made by the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma when pacifying the House to see reason for the passage into law the abolition of the death penalty in the country.
The removal or abolition of the death penalty was a manifesto promise made by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Brigadier Retired, Dr. Julius Maada Bio, during campaigns of the last general election in the country.
The Bill was piloted by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Anthony Y. Brewah.
The Bill entitled: “The Abolition of the Death Penalty Act, 2021” has been approved by Parliament, with a maximum penalty of not less than 30 years for a sentence of life imprisonment.
The Act seeks to abolish the death penalty in the case of persons convicted in Sierra Leone of murder under the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861, robbery with aggravation under the Larceny Act, 1916, mutiny under the Sierra Leone Military Forces Act, 1961, treason and related offences under the Treason and State Offences Act 1963, and to make alternative provision for the punishment of persons so convicted and to provide for other related matters.
After lengthy debates and careful considerations in light of international best practice, and judging from its sad history in the country, when people had been killed without evidence and fabricated lies over the years, the death penalty has been removed from the law books of Sierra Leone with a vote of unanimity.
Representatives from Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations who were in Parliament to witness the debate and vote on the abolition of the death penalty were recognized by the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu. Parliament also solicited inputs from them before the abolition of the death penalty from the law books of Sierra Leone.
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