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Mexico to rethink death penalty

By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Mexico City

Police officers guard a crime scene where a woman was killed in Tijuana, 6 Jan 2009
There has been a surge in murders and kidnapping across the country

The Congress in Mexico has agreed to debate the issue of reinstating capital punishment for some crimes.

The move follows a surge in murders and kidnappings in the country, many linked to drug cartels and organised crime.

Mexico abolished capital punishment in 2005, but recent surveys suggest that 70% of Mexicans are in favour of the death penalty.

The campaign to reinstate judicial executions has, unusually, been led by Mexico's Green Party.

Hundreds of posters, carrying the Green Party logo, and demanding capital punishment for murderers and kidnappers have appeared all over Mexico City.

The party says it is simply conveying the voice of the people, but its opponents say it is playing politics.

No date has been set for the forums, which will bring together crime experts, academics and human rights campaigners.

The chances that the Mexican constitution will actually be amended currently appear remote.

The government, church and human rights groups all strongly oppose reinstatement.

Mexico has long been powerful voice in international forums calling for the abolition of capital punishment and has not carried out an execution since 1961.

But millions of Mexicans are appalled by the rising insecurity in this country, and are looking for any means to try to control it.

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Country profile: Mexico
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