Yes, you heard that right. Malawi has abolished the death penalty.
Last Wednesday, Malawi’s Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional. That means the death penalty has been abolished entirely in the country. The Court also ruled that all those sentenced to the mandatory death penalty who been barred from resentencing must have a new sentencing hearing immediately. A life sentence is now the most severe sentence that can be given.
This incredible ruling is the culmination of decades of work by human rights defenders who have been fighting for the abolition of the death penalty. It represents a return to key Malawian values and traditions rooted in reconciliation, rehabilitation and the possibility of reform. The client who brought the case, Charles Khoviwa, is a perfect demonstration of these values. Over decades in prison, Charles has taken steps to rehabilitate himself and has for years been a leader and an example of reform to his fellow inmates.