ROMA, 13 MARZO – The Community of Sant’Egidio welcomed the moratorium of death penalty announced today by the new Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. “In a world in which leadership is often transformed into ‘followship’, in light of opinion polls and mood swings, governor Newsom, showed great political courage and leadership”, said Mario Marazziti, coordinator of the worldwide Campaign for Abolition of the Death penalty sponsored by the Community of Sant’Egidio (UNESCO Peace Prize) and author of Thirteen Ways to look at the Death Penalty, published by Seven Stories Press.
California has the largest death row in the world, where there are 737 persons condemned to death, but since 1978 there have been 11 executions, 79 have died of natural causes and 26 have committed suicide. Of those remaining as of today 79 prisoners have exhausted all possible channels of appeal. Last November 29th the Community of Sant’Egidio, along with over 20 Justice Ministers gathered in Rome for the International Conference for the World Day of Cities Against the Death Penalty had sponsored an appeal to outgoing governor Brown to commute the death sentence of everyone on death row.
The Community expresses today its satisfaction and compliments Governor Newsom for the decision and the clarity of his official statement “not to authorize any execution during his term in office”, convinced that “the intentional killing of anyone is always wrong” and that the death penalty has been a “failure” insofar as it discriminated against the mentally disabled, blacks and people who could not afford an adequate defense, with the result that innocent people have been put to death. Governor Newsom, in declaring that the death penalty is “absolute, irreversible and irreparable” takes responsibility for the obvious protests of those in California who had asked for the opposite and with Proposition 66 an appeal to accelerate the procedure of executions.
According to Marazziti, the event in California could give fresh impulse to the drive to reduce capital punishment in the United States. In New Hampshire abolition will soon come thanks to a bipartisan vote, while for the first time laws were proposed for abolition or for a moratorium in Republican states like Utah and the “Mountain States”. (@OnuItalia)