Abolition of death penalty awaits parliamentary ruling

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said today that the bill for the abolition of the death penalty - the only legal alternative to a referendum - has already been submitted to parliament.

Speaking to reporters during the ceremony that marked the accession of the Equatorial Guinea Development Party (PDGE, currently in power) to the Democratic International Center, Teodoro Obiang said that the abolition of the death penalty, as demanded by this and other international organizations (such as the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries - CPLP), is "in the process of being completed."

"It may seem a small step, but it's a complex one," Obiang said, pointing out that as the death penalty is enshrined in the Equato-Guinean constitution, any amendment "would have to be submitted to a referendum."

The Equato-Guinean president further said that there is a moratorium that has been preventing the execution of the condemnations.

Obiang, who is regularly accused of leading one of the world's most repressive regimes, backed by oil production money, also said that the government is working "to foster reconciliation among all Equatorial Guinea citizens."

Commenting on the sixth round of talks with his political opponents, many of whom in exile, Obiang said: "We believe that coexistence makes us stronger as a society, and there is no doubt that this is the only way to build a more prosperous and developed Equatorial Guinea."

Without providing further details about the negotiations, the Equato-Guinean president praised the "positive results of the last amnesty" for opponents and recalled the "pardons for all exiles."

Obiang also promised that the government will help political opponents return to the country: "All Guinean citizens who are away from the country can count on the government's help to come back and contribute to society."

The abolition of the death penalty was one of the country's commitments when it joined the CPLP at the Dili summit in July 2014, and local authorities have been claiming that a moratorium on capital punishment has been preventing all judicial executions.

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