Cypriot parliament votes to abolish death sentence

Nicosia, Sep 10 (IANS) Cyprus’ parliament unanimously voted amendments of the constitution on Friday with a view of striking out provisions allowing the death sentence.

Only two deputies of the far right ELAM party, affiliated to Greece’s Golden Dawn extreme right party, abstained from voting, Xinhua news agency reported.

They said they would like to see the death sentence provisions stay in the constitution so as to be possible to impose the death sentence in cases of high treason.

The death sentence was abolished in practice almost half a century ago and all legislation allowing it to be imposed was amended during Cyprus’ negotiations for joining the European Union about 16 years ago.

The Constitutional provisions allowing the death sentence under specific laws were forgotten, until House Speaker Demetris Syllouris said last week he had become aware of their existence.

He told parliament during a debate that they should be stricken out for reasons of consistency and also to be on the safe side least anyone in the future would try to bring the death sentence back.

Amendments of the constitutional provisions can only be made with majority of three quarters of parliamentary deputies but amendments to ordinary legislation are possible with a single majority of present lawmakers.

–IANS

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