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Equatorial Guinea Scraps Death Penalty Eight Years After Last Execution

 

Equatorial Guinea has abolished the death penalty after the country’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo signed a new penal code into law.

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Obiang’s son, the vice president, announced the move on social media on Monday.

“I am writing in capitals to seal this unique moment: ‘EQUATORIAL GUINEA HAS ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY’,” Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue said on Facebook.

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A journalist on state television called the event “historic for our country” in a brief announcement at the end of a news programme.

The measure will come into force in the 90 days following its publication in the official state journal and was approved in advance by parliament, where all but one of the 100 legislators represent the ruling party.

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The last official execution in the West African country was carried out in 2014, according to Amnesty International, but international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the United Nations regularly accuse the regime of forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture.

President Obiang, 80, has spent more than 43 years in power, a world record when excluding monarchies.

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Equatorial Guinea possesses significant oil and gas resources, but the vast majority of its 1.3 million inhabitants live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

The death penalty remains legal in more than 30 African countries, although only about half have carried out executions in recent years.

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