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A Growing List of African Nations Free of Capital Punishment

Ghana has become the 29th country in Africa to abolish the death penalty in a move hailed by human rights activists. The decision means that the 176 people currently on death row, including six women, are likely to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. On Tuesday, Ghana’s parliament voted to amend the country’s criminal offences act, removing the use of capital punishment for crimes including murder, genocide, piracy and smuggling. The death sentence can still be given for acts of high treason, and campaigners cautioned that the country’s constitution would have to change for a complete removal of the penalty. Ghana has not carried out an execution since 1993, but courts have continued to hand down death sentences, including seven last year. The country’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, needs to sign the bill into law before it comes into force.