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Friday, 10 December, 1999, 16:16 GMT
Albania abolishes death penalty

The death penalty has been abolished in Albania, meeting one of the main criteria for membership of the Council of Europe.

Twenty convicts awaiting the death sentence are now due to serve life imprisonment.

The Constitutional Court in Tirana ruled that the death penalty contravened the constitution which was introduced following the collapse of communism.

Albania suspended the death penalty in 1995, but its final abolition was delayed because of an upsurge in crime and violence.

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