09 January 2014 2:39 pm | | 2


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President Moncef Marzouki at Princeton University, September 2013. Photo courtesy Marzouki's Facebook page

President Moncef Marzouki at Princeton University, September 2013. Photo courtesy Marzouki’s Facebook page

President Moncef Marzouki, in a statement Wednesday, expressed his “deep disappointment” in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) for allowing the death penalty in Article 21 of the new constitution.

Marzouki, a long time human rights advocate, in a June 2013 memo to the NCA argued that capital punishment has never been proven to effectively reduce crime and has often been misused to eradicate political opponents and subdue the poorer classes, and requested the amendment of Article 21 of the constitution to eradicate the death penalty. 

A motion to ban the death penalty was rejected by 102 votes on Wednesday. Article 21, passed with 135 votes on Monday, reads: “The right to life is sacred, and it cannot be infringed upon except in grave cases provided for by the law.”

Monitoring groups Human Rights Watch, Al Bawsala, The Carter Center, and Amnesty International released a joint statement on January 3 asking the NCA to amend the article, saying vague wording does not specify which cases qualify for the death penalty.

“The four organizations oppose the death penalty in all cases as it constitutes a violation of the right to life and the right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” the statement read.

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