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Death Penalty: To Defend the Life of a Condemned Person Is to Defend the Life of All

November 29, 2017. Congress Organized by Sant’Egidio Community

“To defend the life of a condemned person is to defend the life of all, mine also, ours also; it’s to defend the beauty and the honor of living.”

It was with these words that Marco Impagliazzo, President of Sant’Egidio Community, opened the 10th International Congress of Ministers of Justice, held in the Chamber of Deputies in Rome on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, on the theme ”A World Without The Death Penalty,” reported Vatican Radio in Italian.

“It has been largely demonstrated that the death penalty is not useful in combatting crimes, even less so terrorism…The true response is to defend life at all levels and augment the system of justice so that justice can be repaired. What must be done is a cultural endeavor in the society, because violence only breeds violence,” stressed Impagliazzo.

Sant’Egidio Community “is involved in numerous countries worldwide. And it’s not an ideological battle. It’s one that is held beside people that suffer. The battle against the death penalty is a “stop” to a violent mentality,” he continued.

The President of Sant’Egidio Community noted particularly the presence and intervention at the Congress of the Minister of Justice of Morocco: “The presence of Morocco is very interesting. The words of the Minister of Justice of Morocco, a Mediterranean State, Muslim and Arab, are interesting. He stressed the way that country works, with very concrete measures, for the abolition of the death penalty. It’s an opening, a breach for all Muslim countries that still apply it,” he said.

According to the present statistics at the Congress, globally between 2015 and 2016, the number of executions in the world decreased by 37%. Instead, Iraq more than trebled the number of executions last year.

Recalled also during the Congress was the World Day of Cities for Life – Cities against the death penalty will be held this coming November 30. It has been observed at the initiative of Sant’Egidio Community since 2002 every 30th of November, the day of the anniversary of the first abolition of capital punishment carried out by a State (the Grand Duchy of Tuscany), on November 30, 1786.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester