Senegal: church welcomes abolition of death penalty

 The Catholic Church in Senegal has welcomed the country's decision to abolish of the death penalty. Father Alfred Wally Sarr, secretary of the Bishops' Conference in Senegal said: "I am pleased to note that Senegalese society has finally understood that the death penalty is not necessarily a deterrent to social deviation and in particular that it is not a good means of fighting against insecurity." He said: "The Church can only be pleased. This decision reminds us of our faith, according to which life is a gift of God, which lives in God from birth to death." Speaking by telephone from Dakar, Fr Wally said he thought that a life sentence would give a criminal a chance to reflect on the gravity of his crime and help him learn to respect others and society, He added that he shared an earlier comment to the radio by a Muslim socialist member of parliament (in Senegal Muslims represent 94% of the population) that "the abolition of the death penalty is coherent with Islam, a religion of forgiveness and mercy". The President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, also Muslim, promised to abolish the death penalty during his mandate: now he will have to sign the bill into law. Both the pro-government and the opposition press have unanimously hailed the decision by parliament, describing it as "a historic gesture". Source: MISNA/ICN

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