Monday, 29 January 2007

Syria is preparing to abolish death penalty

(AKI) - A Syrian cabinet minister, Bashar al-Shiaar says he is "personally" against capital punishment and hopes his country will move to abolish the practice. " I believe human society is summoned to work hand-in-hand to ensure this form of penalty is not applied," al-Shiaar who is minister for the Affairs of the Red Crescent, told Adnkronos International (AKI). "Personally I am against this penalty, however the officials stance in Syria can only be determined by the constitutional institutions," he added.
Italy is heading a fresh attempt at the United Nations for an international moratorium on the death penalty - a campaign launched in the wake of the hanging of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"Syria is a civilised nation and one that more than any other responds to humanitarian appeals and international judicial decisions," al-Shiaar told AKI.
In Syria, people facing the death penalty include those convicted of murder, rape, terrorism, detention of weapons for attacks against the state, treason, espionage as well as several political crimes including membership of banned groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Human rights groups have repeatedly appealed to Damascus to abolish the death penalty.

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