Today, the 10th October, is the World Day Against the Death Penalty.
The World Day Against the Death Penalty is commemorated annually on this day to highlight the plight of those who have been denied the most essential human right of all, the right to life, by the justice system.
This Year’s Theme
This year’s theme is “Conditions of Detention for People Sentenced to Death”.
The theme this year puts the focus on what is often forgotten by society, namely the conditions in which people sentenced to death are held and the cruel treatment to which they are subjected. They are given inadequate and unpalatable food and are kept in solitary confinement for up to 20 hours a day. Added to this is the psychological torture they experience while waiting to be executed, not knowing from one day to the next whether it will be their last. Such treatment is dehumanizing.
In Zimbabwe, where prison conditions are generally abhorrent, this year’s theme serves as a poignant reminder that human rights must be rights for all people in society.
Abolish the Death Penalty
Zimbabwe has not carried out any executions for over 10 years, putting it on the list of countries that have a de facto moratorium on executions. BUT Zimbabwe has not formally abolished the death penalty, and the moratorium does not spare condemned prisoners the horrors of awaiting execution on death row.
Veritas has taken several court cases to mitigate the conditions of prisoners under sentence of death and to try and secure the abolition of the death penalty. We take this opportunity once again to call upon the Government to abolish the use of capital punishment which robs condemned persons of their right to life, a right to which all human beings should be entitled.
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