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"And you're told it's time to die": A Personal Contribution to the 2021 World Day Against the Death Penalty

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The following text is excerpted from  Death Row Diary , by William Van Poyck. William Van Poyck -- who maintained his innocence -- was executed by the state of Florida on June 12, 2013.  The 58-year-old, convicted of the 1987 murder of Glades Correctional Institution guard Fred Griffis outside a West Palm Beach doctor’s office, offered his views on everything from prison food to movies to the blood lust of politicians who support the death penalty via letters he posted online with the help of his sister.  After his conviction, Van Poyck, with a reform school education, authored three books, one of which won first-place honors in the memoir category in Writer’s Digest 2004 Self-Published Book Awards.  Locked up with what the courts have deemed the worst of the worst, Van Poyck opened the doors to a secret world few can imagine... The following piece is excerpted from William Van Poyck’s dispatches written during the last two years prior to his own execution. "Robert Waterhouse was

Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio signs bill formally abolishing the death penalty

Sierra Leone had long allowed the use of death penalties, but has not carried out an execution since 1998

Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio on Friday signed a bill abolishing the death penalty, becoming the latest African state to ban capital punishment.

The move comes after lawmakers in the West African country voted to end capital punishment in July, replacing the punishment with life imprisonment or a minimum 30-year jail term.

"As a nation, we have today exorcised horrors of a cruel past," Bio said in a statement, adding that capital punishment is "inhumane".

"We today affirm our belief in the sanctity of life," he added.

Sierra Leone, which is still recovering after decades of civil war, had frequently come under fire from rights groups for keeping capital punishment on the books.

The government announced that it would move to ban the death penalty in order to uphold human rights in May, before Sierra Leone's parliament approved an abolition bill.

The last executions in Sierra Leone were carried out in 1998, when 24 military officers were put to death after a coup attempt the year before.

Since then death sentences were often commuted.

A diamond-rich former British colony, the nation of 7.5 million people remains one of the poorest in the world.

Sierra Leone's economy was ravaged by a 1991-2002 civil war that claimed 120,000 lives, followed by an Ebola epidemic from 2014 to 2016.

Source: Agence France-Presse, Staff, October 8, 2021


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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"And you're told it's time to die": A Personal Contribution to the 2021 World Day Against the Death Penalty