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Zim struggles to find hangman, inmates seek ConCourt intervention

15 January 2016, 15:02

Harare – Ten years since Zimbabwe's last hangman retired, there has been no one "willing" to fill the post, as locals view the job as "demeaning", according to a report. 

The southern Africa country has been struggling to fill the post since 2005, leading inmates on death row to launch an application challenging capital punishment in the constitutional court.

New Zimbabwe said that despite the country having an estimated unemployment rate of 85%, it was difficult to find a suitable candidate to administer the death penalty to inmates who have been waiting between four and 18 years.

"No one is willing to take up the post as most people view it as demeaning," chief law officer at the prosecutor’s office, Olivia Zvedi, was quoted saying.

Zvedi, however, maintained that this did not mean the inmates sentences should be changed, adding that the delay was also not a violation of their constitutional right.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, there were at least 18 prisoners languishing on death row.

The 18 prisoners were reportedly challenging their sentences on the basis that the current legal framework forced the continuation of the death penalty, adding that they had been on death row so long that their constitutional rights had been violated.  

Fourteen of the inmates asked the court to revoke their death penalty and change it to a life sentence, while two others argued that the country’s new constitution guaranteed "everyone a right to life", the report said.

A ruling on the case was pending, said the report.

- News24


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