Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Comoros. Currently, however, the country is experiencing a de facto moratorium; although the death penalty remains in the nation's penal code, it has not been used since the 1990s.

History

Comoros gained independence from France in 1975. Since then, the nation has carried out executions at a very infrequent pace, with the first post-independence execution reportedly having been carried out on 18 September 1996[1] when Youssouf Ali, a death row inmate, was denied the right to appeal and publicly executed by firing squad just days after a Comorian court sentenced him to death.[2]

Shortly before Ali's execution, then-Comorian President Mohamed Taki Abdoulkarim announced his intention to crack down on murders, signaling that he would do so by promoting increased usage of the death penalty. He was reported to have complained about "[Comorian] justice being too slow" and remarking that "it moves at the speed of a tortoise."[2] Shortly afterwards, on 31 December 1996, Said Ali Mohamed was sentenced to death; Youssouf Hamadi and Mohamed Youssouf followed on 3 January and 4 January 1997, respectively. All three men were convicted of murder. Human rights organizations expressed concerns that since Comoros operated under Islamic law and therefore forbade executions to take place during the month of Ramadan (which was to begin on 10 January 1997), the three men would be hastily executed before Ramadan started and forbidden from exercising their right to appeal.[2]

On May 29, 1997, Mohamed Saidali, who went by the alias "Robin," was executed by firing squad. He had been convicted of armed robbery; a court issued his death sentence on 20 September 1996. On the same date, three other men, Mohamed Sahali, Ali Machallah, and an unidentified man, were also sentenced to death ostensibly for the same crime.[3] Amnesty International expressed concerns that Sahali, Machallah, and the unidentified man would be imminently executed similarly to Saidali,[4] although they were never executed. After Saidali's execution, the United Nations published a report criticizing Comorian authorities for not respecting Saidali's right to life. Like Youssouf Ali, Saidali had been denied the right to appeal.[5]

To date, Saidali's execution is the most recent execution to take place in Comoros.

Recent developments

At the end of 2017, Amnesty International reported that Comoros had 7 people on its death row.[1] Amnesty also reported that Comoros neither executed nor sentenced anyone to death in 2019.[6] However, there was one single death sentence passed in Comoros in 2020. Mohamed Zaidou, a native of Mali, was convicted of burning Foumbouni native Anlim Athoumani to death in his car on 28 April 2019[7] and condemned to die by the Assize Court of Moroni in October 2020.[8] The prosecutor in the case requested 10-year sentences for Zaidou's accomplices.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b "Comoros". Hands Off Cain. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Comoros: Death Penalty/Legal Concern". Amnesty International. 6 January 1997. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  3. ^ United Nations Economic and Social Council (23 December 1996). "Question of the Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Any Part of the World, with Particular Reference to Colonial and Other Dependent Countries and Territories: Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions" (PDF). RefWorld. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Comores: Más información: Pena de muerte y preocupación jurídica". Amnesty International. 2 June 1997. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  5. ^ United Nations Economic and Social Council (19 December 1997). "Question of the Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Any Part of the World, with Particular Reference to Colonial and Other Dependent Countries and Territories: Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions" (PDF). RefWorld. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  6. ^ Amnesty International Global Report. "Death Sentences and Executions: 2019" (PDF). Amnesty International. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Le suspect Mohamed Zaidou Oumouri est aux mains du Pign à Moroni". Comores Infos (in French). 8 May 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  8. ^ Amnesty International Global Report. "Death Sentences and Executions: 2020". Amnesty International. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Jeune de Foumbouni brûlé dans une voiture: La peine de mort contre Mohamed Zaidou". Habari Za Comores (in French). 6 October 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2021.