Tuscany against the death penalty
Speaking at an international convention against capital punishment organised by the Regional Council of Tuscany on 28 November, Massimo Toschi, the Tuscan peace councillor, announced the sending of a letter to Pope Benedict XVI to request “the excommunication of the death penalty. We are asking the Pope to definitively speak out against the death penalty”.
The convention took place during the Festival of Tuscany, held to commemorate the fact that the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was the first State in the world to abolish capital punishment on November 30, 1786.
The President of the Regional Council, Riccardo Nencini, particularly welcomed two guests attending the convention: Mario Marazziti, spokesperson for the Community of Sant’Egidio, and Abdurahman Malkic, Mayor of Srebrenica, “which witnessed the most appalling genocide of modern times”.
Angelo Passaleva, who represents the Region of Tuscany at the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, recalled that for the first time in history we find ourselves facing the real possibility that a universal moratorium will be approved by the UN General Assembly.
“We must continue our efforts to convince countries which remain unsure and public opinion to vote for the resolution”, he stressed. “Just last year executions numbered more than 1,600, notwithstanding the fact that information from China is practically unknown”.
Among other guests at the international convention were Walter Schmied, Vice-President of the Council of Europe, Brigitte Mabandla, South African Justice Minister, Per Pietro Marcenaro, President of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Cecilia Nava, Vice-Secretary of the Italian Section of Amnesty International, Modesto Ruiz Espinoza, a Venezuelan parliamentarian, José Eduardo Barbosa, Ambassador of the Republic of Cape Verde in Italy, and Joe H. Besley and Brima Conteh, Presidents respectively of African Ascension and Diaspora Africana.