Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 09:45 UK

Togo abolishes the death penalty


Togo's parliament has voted unanimously to abolish the death penalty.

The vote was witnessed by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

He has been campaigning for a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its total abolition.

The BBC's Ebow Godwin in the capital, Lome, says there were at least six convicts on death row.

But the country has not carried out an execution since 1978, he says.

Mr Zapatero said the Togolese parliament had raised a voice for justice and human dignity.

And Justice Minister Kokou Tozoun said: "I think that it's the best decision that we took in this year... we don't have the right to give death to someone if we know that death is not a good thing to give."

Amnesty International said the decision means Togo has become the 15th member of the African Union and the 94th country in the world to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

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