Equatorial Guinea has abolished the death penalty

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo signs new penal code for central African country

Equatorial Guinea has abolished the death penalty, according to a new criminal code signed by President Teodoro Obiang, adding to a growing list of African countries seeking to extinguish a vestige of colonial rule.

According to Amnesty International, the last execution took place eight years ago. The government has equally been accused of torture, arbitrary detentions and sham trials during Obiang’s 43 years in power.

The new penal law, dated August 17, was officially published over the weekend and will come into force in 90 days.

Obiang’s son, Vice-President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, described the abolition as “historical and memorable”.

“I write it with capital letters to seal this unique moment,” he tweeted on Monday. “EQUATORIAL GUINEA HAS ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY.”

Capital punishment, adopted in some places during colonial rule, remains legal in just over 30 African countries. But more than 20 of those have not carried out executions for at least 10 years, according to data provider Statista.

Sierra Leone’s parliament last year voted unanimously to abolish the death penalty. In the last two years, Malawi and Chad have both ruled it to be unconstitutional.

Globally, about 170 countries have abolished or introduced moratoria against the death penalty, according to the United Nations.

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