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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Sri Lankan President commutes death sentences of 60 inmates to life

Feb 02, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to commute the sentences of 60 prisoners in death row to life sentences prisoners on account of the 69th Independence Day on February 04.

President Sirisena has taken the decision to spare the lives of the prisoners based on the recommendations made by a Committee appointed by the Ministry of Justice and headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Nimal Dissanayake.

The Committee was appointed to review and report whether the death sentences on death row prisoners should be commuted to life imprisonment. 

Accordingly, the Committee has recommended commuting the sentences of 60 prisoners to life imprisonment effective from February 04.

The death row convicts will be considered for parole only after they served a minimum sentence of 20 years and their pleas for any relief will be referred to the parole board once in four years after that.

Although Sri Lankan courts give death penalty in serious crimes such as murder, rape and drug trafficking, no executions have been carried out since 1976. 

All death penalty cases have been commuted to life in prison.

Source: Colombo Page, Feb. 2, 2017

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