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Death penalty: Voices raise to abolish the death penalty in the Middle East

On July 11 and 12, 2023, during the 4th Regional Congress on the Death Penalty in Amman, Jordan (#4RC_EPCM), the ECPM team met those involved in the abolitionist struggle in the Middle East. We recorded six voices, six precious testimonies, key indicators of the path to follow to progress towards the abolition of capital punishment in this region that bears the marks of a tumultuous history.

Mohamad Habash, President of the Islamic Studies Centre in Damascus (Syria)

During the plenary session on the current state of capital punishment and the expectations of abolitionist activists in the region, Mohamad Habash came as an expert in the study of the Koran to expose the alternatives to the death penalty offered by the Sharia . “I am convinced that Sharia law is flexible enough to avoid corporal punishment”, he insisted during his speech.

Amal Faqih, General director, Human Rights and Democracy Media Centers in Palestine (SHAMS)

Amal Faqih spoke at the 4th Regional Congress, reminding participants that raising awareness is an effective means of combating the use of the death penalty for political ends. With her organisation SHAMS, her fight is two-fold: firstly, she aims to raise awareness among the general public by highlighting the way in which new generations view the death penalty through art, testimonies and documentaries; secondly, she works at the institutional level, producing shadow reports designed to combat misinformation on the use of the death penalty.

Hala Ahed, Lawyer, Front Line Defenders laureate in 2023 (Jordan)

Hala Ahed moderated the session devoted to the different population groups (ethnic and gender minorities, foreigners, women, children and migrant workers), who are disproportionately affected by the death penalty. In particular, she questioned the panelists on ways of facilitating access to legal aid and strengthening the impartiality of the legal system to avoid all forms of discrimination.

Alexis Le Cour Grandmaison, French ambassador to Jordan (France)

Alexis Le Cour Grandmaison spoke at the opening of the regional congress, reminding participants that the universal abolition of the death penalty is one of the priorities of French and European diplomacy, which it approaches with humility, being one of the last countries in Europe to have removed the death penalty from its penal code.

Suzanne Jabbour, Chairperson of the UN Subcomittee on Prevention of Torture (Lebanon)

Calling on all States to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, Suzanne Jabbour took advantage of her visit to Amman to promote international cooperation and underline the importance of reinforcing international standards, even if they come after the sovereignty of each State.

Asem Rababa, President, Adaleh Center for Human Rights Studies (Jordan)

Asem Rababa, representative of the Adaleh association, ECPM’s partner in Jordan, emitted a number of recommendations concerning policies to raise awareness on bad practices that lead to the application of capital punishment. In particular, he suggested working hand in hand with the Jordanian media to promote a culture of tolerance and respect for human rights.