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Mali: Proposal to End Death Penalty Meets Opposition

(May 2, 2008) The government of Mali has proposed ending the use of capital punishment in the country, but opposition politicians have rallied to oppose the move and keep the death penalty. The Cabinet had passed a draft bill on abolition in October 2007. Although the 2001 Penal Code included the death penalty, it has not been imposed in Mali since 1980 (see 11 W.L.B. 2007).

As part of a demonstration against abolition, which was also devoted to criticizing the high cost of living in Mali, supporters of the National Union for Renaissance Party marched peacefully in the capital city, Bamako, and delivered a document on their views to the office of the Prime Minister. Modibo Sangare, the head of the Party, said of the supporters of the 2007 proposal to abolish the death penalty, “[i]t is a group of intellectuals manipulated by Westerners who wants to impose the abolition of the death sentence on our country, which is something we should not accept.” He went on to praise the government's measures to avoid a rise in the prices of basic commodities, but said the pace of implementation of the measures was too slow. (Malian Opposition Party Slams High Cost of Living, Death Penalty Draft Bill, OSC SUMMARY, Apr. 23, 2008, Open Source Center No. AFP20080424950003.)