Malawi’s Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional.
The court said the death penalty was against international human rights standards. This means that a life sentence will be the highest punishment in Malawi.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission described the ruling as progress:
Ruling on the death penalty! Progress this is.
Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has declared death penalty as unconstitutional. The death penalty is an abolition of the right to life. @OSISA@amnesty@DeathPenaltyRep @UNMalawi@EUinMalawi @ChilungamoMw@humanrights1st #UPR
— Malawi Human Rights Commission (@HumanRightsMW) April 28, 2021
The ruling noted there had been no executions in the country since 1975.
Malawian social justice advocate Alexious Kamangila told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that the death sentence did not necessarily deter criminal activities, adding that other forms of punishment were good enough.
“The death penalty targets the poorest in Malawi and other places – those who cannot afford proper legal representation are the ones who are more likely to face death penalty,” he said.
Malawi now becomes the 22nd sub-Saharan country to abolish the death penalty.