Puerto Rican Coalition Against Death Penalty
The Puerto Rican Coalition against the Death Penalty (PCADP) is a non-party, non-sectarian organisation incorporated in Puerto Rico in March 2005 to promote the elimination of the capital punishment.The PCADP aims to join efforts among the different abolitionist organisations and activists in Puerto Rico. Its Statement of Principles emphasises that it does not believe in the impunity of a crime and identifies with the pain of the families of both the victims and the accused. It rejects the death penalty inside and outside Puerto Rico.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a Spanish-speaking archipelago of 4 million inhabitants, has been under US sovereignty since 1898. It has its own Constitution and laws, which are subordinated to the US federal legislation. Puerto Rican abolitionists opposed the US-imposed death penalty from the early 20th century. They obtained a four-year moratorium in 1917. The last execution took place in 1927 and the Puerto Rican legislature abolished the death penalty in 1929.
Today, Puerto Rico is the only territory under US sovereignty to have included the abolition of capital punishment in its constitution. However, the Federal Death Penalty Act and the Federal Extradition Act apply to Puerto Rico, exposing Puerto Ricans to death sentences. Moreover, a Puerto Rican was sentenced to death and executed in Florida in 2006, and others risk the death penalty in other parts of the US.
The Puerto Rican Coalition against the Death Penalty aims at excluding Puerto Rico from the scope of the Federal Death Penalty Act, as is the case for other federal laws. It also intends to mark its opposition in every case in which death penalty certification is to be requested by federal prosecutors in Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rican Coalition against the Death Penalty has been a member of the World Coalition since 2006. It has launched a campaign to form a Caribbean abolitionist network to join forces with other abolitionist groups, either in retentionist or abolitionist countries of the region. As of June 2007, the PCADP was composed of more than 40 religious, political, student, community, labor union, professional, and human rights advocacy organisations.