ACCRA, Amnesty International (AI) has urged the Government of Ghana to abolish the death penalty.

Its acting director in Ghana, Frank Doyi, said here Tuesday: “The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the State. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice.”

He said the death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human rights and that Ghana’s policy on the death penalty was out of step with the rest of the world and that abolition of the death penalty would reinforce Ghana’ commitment to human rights.

Speaking during the launch of the Amnesty International Global Report: Death Sentences and Executions 2016, he said Article 13 of the 1992 Ghanaian Constitution guarantees the right to life, although the same article allows for the death penalty and that Article 3(3) provides for the mandatory death sentence for persons convicted of high treason.

“We call on the Government of Ghana to expedite action on the review of the 1992 Constitution to Amend articles 3 (3) and 13 (1) of the 1992 Constitution to remove the mandatory death sentence for persons convicted of high treason, (3(3)) and to prohibit the execution of the citizens by the State, (13(1)),” he said.

He noted that according to information that the Ghana Prisons Service provided to AI, no execution had been carried out in 2016, while 17 death sentences were imposed by the courts. Doyi said at the end of the year, 148 people were under sentence of death, seven of whom were foreign nationals — five Togolese, one Burkinabe and one Nigerian. Four commutations were granted and one person was exonerated.