(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) – Following House and Senate hearings on the bill to abolish the
death penalty today in Maryland, Amnesty International USA interim executive director,
Frank Jannuzi, issued the following comments:
“Marylanders are now on course to eliminate the abhorrent practice of capital
punishment. The state will have an opportunity to support victims’ families and focus on
public safety solutions that are proven to work. It will be a proud day and a major step
forward for human rights in the United States when Maryland becomes the 18th state to
abolish the death penalty and put justice and dignity ahead of
Nearly 100 Amnesty activists gathered at the Maryland House and Senate during the
hearings, voicing their support for Gov. O’Malley’s bill. Both Jannuzi and Howard
University student Stanford Fraser, an advocate for Amnesty International, submitted
written testimony during the hearings.
In the testimony, Jannuzi noted that according to Amnesty International’s most recent
annual worldwide death penalty survey conducted in 2012, the United States stands almost
alone among advanced industrialized countries retaining capital punishment.
Since 1990, over 50 countries have abolished the death penalty, including Haiti,
Paraguay, Romania, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, and Rwanda. More than two thirds of
the world’s countries no longer execute people or use the death penalty. It is a
disturbing fact that in 2012, the U.S. remains among the top five countries that carried
out the highest number of known judicial executions. The others were China, Iran, Saudi
Arabia, and Iraq, whose governments have consistently demonstrated notoriously poor
human rights records.
Amnesty International leads a global movement to abolish capital punishment and has
been organizing grassroots abolition efforts in Maryland for a decade. Since 1998, it
has served as an integral member of the Maryland Citizens Against State Executions
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist
organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than
150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and
exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever
justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.