For ACATs, every executed person “is one of us”
ACATs affirm that the very principle of the death penalty is incompatible with the Gospel. They do not forget that “every person whose life is ended in a gas chamber, by hanging, by a lethal injection, or by a firing squad, is one of us: a human being, a brother or a sister; however cruel and inhuman their actions may seem.”
In 2007, ACATs unreservedly took part in the World Day against the Death Penalty, with the support and participation of their international federation, FIACAT.
For example, the African ACATs, whose States are on the road to abolition or no longer apply the death penalty, together with FIACAT appealed to their governments to support, or at least to abstain from voting against, the moratorium on capital punishment in the UN.
Educational and campaigning activities by all the ACATs multiplied around 10 October: numerous debates and conferences, contributions in the media, public demonstrations, awareness-raising in Christian communities in the context of liturgies, with appeals for signatures in favour of the moratorium.
Organising from Congo to Spain
ACAT -Sud Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, spoke out on the radio and at a public meeting in Bukavu (photo). Its president, Julien Cigolo, reminded audiences that the death penalty is still in force within the legal system of Congo, although one should note significant advances towards the abolition of capital punishment.
In the trial of Songo Mboyo for very serious crimes, the Congolese judge did not retain the death penalty but applied the statute of the International Criminal Court.
Julien Cigolo said that Congolese lawmakers should specifically remove the death penalty from the country’s Penal Code to conform with the new Constitution, which states the supremacy of the right to life under all circumstances.
In Benin, where the death penalty is still in force although it is currently rarely applied, ACAT-Benin mobilised around the following events: interviews with death row prisoners, conferences in schools and universities, a peaceful march on 10 October and a radio programme on the campaign launched by the World Coalition.
In Germany, ACAT organised a postcard campaign: a distribution of postcards bearing the text of the international petition. In neighbouring Belgium and Luxembourg generated good media coverage in the papers and on the radio.
For its part, ACAT-Catalonia/Spain marked the World Day against the Death Penalty with an ecumenical prayer service in a protestant church.
Throughout the world, ACATs collected signatures, adding 15,541 to the petition which went on to be presented to the UN General Assembly days before it adopted a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty last December.