Pushing for abolition in the Middle East and in North Africa
Some are on the way towards establishing a moratorium or are abolitionist de facto, but some are far from it, and activists’ work against the death penalty is threatened.
Taghreed Jaber, regional director of Penal Reform International’s Middle-East and North Africa Regional Office states that “the main obstacle to abolition is poor interpretation of the Islamic Sharia”. How can campaigners find ways and strategies to help the abolitionist movement in the Arabic world?
Miloud Brahimi, an Algerian lawyer, explains: “Algeria is not mature on the inside, but we can hope the solution will come from the outside. I’m thinking of Turkey, which moved forward on the death penalty because the country wants to be part of Europe. Same for Poland, once it’s accepted in Europe, it can’t go backward on such issues.”
It could be an outside solution or a regional example, such as Jordan. Nisreen Zerikat, a Jordanian lawyer says that Jordan must be a positive example for the region. The government adopted a plan to reduce the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty. “It is the start of the path,” she says “but a lot of efforts are being made.”
Head of the Middle East and Africa Office for Amnesty International, Ahmed Karaoud says that the number of activists against the death penalty is rising every day, but he adds that “activists need solidarity”. He emphasizes the fact that the struggle against the death penalty accompanies the fight for a fair trial system.