APPEAL - Sant'Egidio urges California's Brown to commute all death sentencesDeath Penalty
Appeal from the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Ministries of Justice and political authorities of 25 countries worldwide to the Governor of California, Mr. Brown: Declare a moratorium of all lethal executions in California, the largest death row in the Western world, with 742 death row inmates.
Rome. Ministries of Justice, Foreign Office, and International bodies from the UN to the Francophonie, to the Vatican, from four continents, 25 countries, gathered in Rome at the Lower Chamber of the Italian Parliament for the International Conference ‘A World without the Death Penalty’ invited by the Community of Sant’Egidio. The Community of Sant’Egidio, awarded from both UNESCO and Balzan Price for Peace, has promoted the Movement and the World Day of Cities against the death penalty – gathering 2,000 cities all over the world on 30th November. The World Day of Cities against Death Penalty is known to have intervened and contributed to resolve international conflicts and civil wars, from Mozambique to Guatemala.
During the Conference Mr. Mario Marazziti, Coordinator of the campaign for a universal death penalty moratorium, representing the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Ministries of Justice from South Africa, Benin, Zimbabwe, and Malaysia – that has already announced a moratorium for all the planned executions, has announced the abolition of the death penalty in Benin as of March 2019. Mr. Marazziti launched an appeal to the Governor of California, Mr. Jerry Brown to declare a moratorium on all the executions and the commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment in the Golden State. ‘We launch an appeal to a great American politician, Jerry Brown, Governors for four terms with a vision for the State of California, the State where the larger death row in the Western world, in San Quentin: 742 death row inmates waiting for the execution, among those innocents people – as the Vincente Benavides and Fred Watherton case have shown this year.
The Appeal I launch on behalf of this Congress and the Ministries here gathered is that the Governor declares a death penalty moratorium and the beginning of the process to commute all death sentences before leaving his office by the end of the year.
It is a gesture of great political wisdom that will strengthen the authoritativeness of the system of justice in California, a state where half of the death sentences come from only 3 counties over 53, where they seem to be related more to geography than the nature of the crimes and those convicted for the crimes.
The moratorium of the executions and the commutation of the death sentences will help the citizen of California count on a system for justice that is immune from irreparable mistakes each judicial system is exposed to through the death penalty, even the most perfect system, especially where characterized by social, racial, and gender discrimination.
This great gesture of political courage and morality, in line with the political biography of the Governor Brown – said Marazziti, leaving the appeal to the media – will position him in alignment with the new standards of the international consciousness – with a great majority invite to a universal moratorium at the Un General Assembly, and with the message of the new text of the Catholic Church Catechism, that declares the death penalty inadmissible, with no exceptions’.
I hope the Governor Mr. Brown is willing to leave this legacy as a present to his citizens, to all Americans, to the world, and through this leaving a sign in history. All hope we will soon be able to celebrate a death penalty moratorium where we will lighten up the Coliseum with a special light to celebrate California and the political courage of Governor Brown’ – Marazziti concluded.