13 October 2009


If the campaign to abolish capital punishment needed a further example to support its arguments then surely the current case of Paul William Scott does that.

As reported recently in the National Catholic Reporter Scott an indigent, poorly-educated, drifter was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in Florida's electric chair in 1979.

However his convicted co-defendant has long since confessed to committing the murder of James Alessi. Subsequently Kondian "plea bargained" down to a 2nd degree murder sentence, served 15 years and was released in 1994.

Upon being informed of facts and irrefutable truths, nine of Scott’s former jurors have expressed shock and dismay in being misled, lied to and tricked into a guilty verdict and a death sentence. Eight members were outraged enough to make affidavits stating they were deceived by the state and voicing their regrets.

Yet thirty years after being convicted Scott remains on death row.

In more hopeful developments for those working to abolish the death penalty, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty reports that the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has organised its first regional conference on the death penalty in Africa in late September - a sign that Africa may be moving towards a regional abolition treaty, whilst Brazil became the 72nd member state to accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that abolishes the death penalty without any possibility of re-instating it.

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty sponsors a World day Against the Death Penalty on Oct 10th each year.

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