The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation posts, "Minister calls for ‘world without death penalty’."
Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has highlighted Switzerland’s commitment to the abolition of capital punishment at the opening of the Fifth World Congress against the Death Penalty in Madrid.
“Switzerland aims to ensure that those countries which have not as yet abolished the death penalty at least place a moratorium on its use,” he said in a statement released by the foreign ministry.
In it, he added that capital punishment was incompatible with the values represented by Switzerland and had an impact on the country’s other obligations such as the prohibition of discrimination.
The death penalty was abolished from Swiss federal criminal law in 1942, but remained available in military criminal law until 1992.
Together with Spain, France and Norway, Switzerland is patron of the Fifth World Congress against the Death Penalty which is hosting around 1,500 delegates from over 90 states in Madrid until Saturday.
"Former death row inmates fight capital punishment," is the AFP report, via the Sun of Malaysia.
Twelve years after leaving death row in Florida, Joaquin Martinez still cannot abide traditional lightbulbs.
"At the time we still had the electric chair and just like in the movies, the bulbs flickered and went out when they executed someone," said Martinez, who is visiting Madrid to join the fifth World Congress against the Death Penalty.
"I don't have any normal lightbulbs at home, just halogens," he said.
His hair impeccably brushed back, the well-dressed 41-year-old Spaniard was arrested in 1996 in Florida on suspicion of double murder before being found not guilty by the US justice system and freed in 2001.
"I still dream sometimes that I am a prisoner. I wake up with a shudder," he said in a presentation event ahead of the June 12-15 congress, organised by the French lobby group Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (Together Against the Death Penalty).
Organisers say they expect 1,500 people from 90 countries, including high-profile politicians such as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, to gather for the congress.
The debate will be punctuated by testimony from people who were once condemned to death or the relatives of those now living on death row.
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