By Ragan M. Conteh
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Sengehpoh Thomas, who presided over the sitting on Thursday 15th July 2021, has urged Civil Society Organisations to attend the debate in Parliament to witness the discussions surrounding the death penalty’s abolition in Sierra Leone.
According to Hon. Sengehpoh Thomas, the debate seeks for the abolition of the death penalty clauses, which will be replaced with life imprisonment in the case of persons convicted in Sierra Leone for various offences, including murder, treason, mutiny and robbery with aggravation.
He said Parliament demands the inputs of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) before the bill was expunged and replaced with suitable clauses with safeguards that will stand the test of time.
Hon Thomas said Parliament expects a throng of civil society groups in Parliament to make their inputs on the abolition of the death penalty, which has been thorny in the face of Sierra Leoneans and CSOs.
The Speaker pointed out those CSOs should not wait for bashing at Parliament after the enactment of the bill, but should now work closely with Parliament to have a bill that protects all and sundry.
He said the bill is a human rights issue that should be owned by CSOs so as to ensure a quality product that stands the test of time.
Hon. Thomas revealed that CSOs were very much cooperative during the enactment of the Cybercrime Bill, adding the Death Penalty Bill should not be an exception, especially with the input of CSOs.
He urged CSOs to inject their input to the bill through the leadership of the House of Parliament, informing that everybody’s views are relevant as far as the death penalty is concerned.
Hon Thomas furthered that the bill also seeks to abolish the death penalty in the case of persons convicted in Sierra Leone for murder under the Offences Act of 1861, robbery with aggravation under the Larceny Act of 1916, mutiny under the Sierra Leone Military Forces Act of 1961, treason and other related offences, under the Treason and State Offences Act of 1963, respectively, to make alternative provisions for the punishment of persons so convicted and to provide for other related matters.