8 January 2014

Tunisia: Marzouki Regrets Retaining of Death Penalty in Draft Constitution

Carthage — Caretaker President Moncef Marzouki deeply regretted the non-alteration of Article 21 of the draft Constitution and therefore the retaining of the death penalty, the Presidency said in a press release issued on Wednesday.

Marzouki had expressed his position on that issue on June 1, 2013 in a letter sent to the National Constituent Assembly on the draft constitution, the same source added.

In that letter, he had explained that the capital punishment has never deterred crime and has always served to settle scores with political opponents and oppress deprived classes.

Marzouki also considered in the same letter, whose content was reported by the Presidency press release, that the abolition of the death penalty would be envisaged because of its inappropriate use throughout history, "especially since studies have found that irrevocable judicial errors were committed in this area."

Article 21 will never allow Tunisia to be part of democratic abolitionist countries, i.e. most of the nations of the world, including Turkey, a country as attached to Islam as Tunisia," the statement said.

The National Constituent Assembly had passed last January 6 Article 21 with 135 votes. The article states: "the right to life is sacred. It shall not be prejudiced except in exceptional cases set out by the law."

During the discussion of that article, a proposal of amendment to abolish death penalty was rejected by 102 votes.

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