Thursday, 1 February 2007

EU lawmakers urge global death penalty ban

EU lawmakers urge global death penalty ban

01 Feb 2007 16:56:02 GMT

BRUSSELS, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The European Parliament backed moves on Thursday for a U.N. moratorium on the death penalty across the world and condemned December's execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Lawmakers voted 591 to 45 to urge the European Union to press for a worldwide moratorium on executions "immediately and unconditionally through a relevant resolution of the current United Nations General Assembly". "Parliament condemned the execution of Saddam Hussein and the media's exploitation of his hanging and deplores the way it was carried out," the assembly said in a statement.

Video images of Saddam being taunted as he awaited execution and the accidental decapitation of his half-brother and aide Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti in a hanging last month have hardened the EU's resolve to press for the end of capital punishment.

The death penalty is banned throughout the EU but retained in some 68 countries, including the United States. Italy, which has just taken up a temporary Security Council seat, is campaigning at the United Nations for a global ban on the death penalty. It aims to involve 85 U.N. countries which signed a non-binding declaration in December against the death penalty in lobbying for a ban.

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