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NO alla Pena di Morte
Campagna Internazionale
Comunità di Sant'Egidio


Il Presidente saluta l’arrivo del papa con la sospensione di 30 condanne a morte. E il Presidente annuncia che proporrà l’abolizione della pena capitale.

CITTA' DEL GUATEMALA, 28 LUG - Il presidente del Guatemala Alfonso Portillo ha annunciato la sospensione, su richiesta di papa Giovanni Paolo II, delle esecuzioni capitali di piu' di 30 detenuti condannati alla pena capitale.

   Parlando con i giornalisti Portillo ha sottolineato che ''l'attuazione della PENA DI MORTE non e' dissuasiva e non consente una diminuzione della violenza'' e che quindi da adesso alla fine del suo mandato non firmera' piu' alcun ordine relativo ad esecuzioni capitali.

   Portillo ha detto di avere preso tale decisione in seguito ad una lettera in tal senso inviatagli dal Papa che domani fara' una visita di 24 ore nel Paese. 

Guatemala Heeds Pope's Plea on Death Penalty

Jul 28 2002

By Greg Brosnan

GUATEMALA CITY - Heeding a call from Pope John Paul before his arrival, Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo has agreed to halt state executions during his administration and will ask the National Assembly to abolish the death penalty altogether, newspapers reported on Sunday.

Portillo made the announcement during a rally in the highland province of Huehuetenango on Saturday, according to reports in the dailies El Periodico and Prensa Libre. It followed a papal plea for a moratorium on executions.

 "I believe, as (the pope's) letter says, that only God can give or take away life," Portillo said at the rally. Portillo also said he plans to send a bill banning the death penalty to the assembly next week.

 "The death sentence has neither dissuaded nor diminished crime or insecurity in the world," Portillo said.

 Portillo's spokesman could not be reached for comment.

 The president's bill to abolish the death penalty could have trouble getting through the assembly, which is presided over by Efrain Rios Montt, the former dictator who defied the pope by going ahead with six executions in 1983.

 Guatemala, the most populous Central American nation, is one of the only countries in Latin America with a death penalty. The pope has campaigned vigorously against the death penalty, and Guatemala's regular executions make it an oddity among majority-Catholic countries.

 The pope is scheduled to visit Guatemala on Monday and Tuesday for his third tour of this coffee-growing country. The main point of his visit is to canonize a 17th-century monk, who will become Central America's first saint.

 Nineteen years ago, Rios Montt defied a papal plea and sparked international outrage when he executed six people three days before the pope's first Guatemalan trip.

 Rios Montt, 76, is enjoying a political comeback and is head of the ruling Guatemala Republican Front, which holds a majority in the National Assembly. He is known to support the death penalty.

 The six men executed by firing squad just before the pope's 1983 visit were sentenced to die for crimes ranging from kidnapping to subversive activities. They were convicted in secret military courts in operation at the height of Guatemala's bloody 1960-1996 civil war.

Guatemala last executed a prisoner in 2000. In the late 1990s, Guatemala changed the method of execution from firing squad to death by lethal injection.