Algerian MPs want to abolish the death penalty
Algerian MP Ali Brahimi (photo) filed a bill aimed at abolishing the death penalty on December 6. The text was sponsored by 20 other lawmakers and states: “The death penalty is abolished. No one shall be executed.” The bill seeks to replace capital punishment with life imprisonment in Algerian law.
Once vetted by the Committee of Algeria’s National Popular Assembly, the text will be in the hands of the government, which sets the parliamentary agenda. “It will all depend on us and on whatever international pressure may be applied”, said Ali Brahimi.
The sponsors of the bill will organise a conference on the death penalty on December 15. Another event will take place in January thanks to Algeria’s National Commission for the Promotion of Human Rights and to World Coalition member organisation Penal Reform International.
“We want to include as many organisations and personalities”, Ali Brahimi said.
Ruling FLN party favours abolition
Apart from Brahimi’s RDC party, representatives from two other political movements, including the ruling FLN, told Le Soir d’Algérie newspaper that they favoured abolition.
The April 2009 presidential election may shift attention away from the abolition bill. But it is also an opportunity to remember that president Abdelaziz Bouteflika committed himself to removing the death penalty from Algerian law in 2004.
Algeria has not carried out any executions since 1993 and was the only Arab country to vote in favour of a UN resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in 2007 and 2008.
However, Algerian courts have passed death sentences on three occasions in recent months.
Click here to download the Algerian abolition bill (in French and in Arabic – PDF)