In a debate in the European Parliament this afternoon on the matter of the death penalty, GUE/NGL MEPs called on European leaders to use their influence towards abolishing the death penalty when meeting international leaders.
French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat raised concern over the increasing use of the death penalty: “Often terrorism and the fight against drugs are used as a pretext for the death penalty. Pakistan, Indonesia and Tunisia have lifted their moratoriums on the death penalty. Senegal – a country which abolished the death penalty – is now trying to reintroduce it. Others, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, are now using the death penalty more frequently.
“European contries are not immune from such backwards steps either – especially when considering what Victor Orbán said last May. We must remain more vigilant than ever against this barbaric practice and convince people through popular education programmes”, she added.
Cypriot MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou called on European leaders to use their influence on this issue: “In Europe we are against the death penalty, but our governments do nothing, just talk. Mrs Moherhini visited the leader of Iran, but she spoke only about economic interests. We need to ask European leaders to talk about infringements of human rights as well.”
Spanish MEP Pablo Iglesias added: “We are all against the death penalty, but one gets the impression that the EU has too many trading partners who apply the death penalty.”
“Tomorrow the King of Spain will address the European Parliament. His family has a close relationship with the royal family of Saudi Arabia. We should tell the King of Spain that we are concerned and ask him to use his influence on the Saudi Monarchy towards gettuing rid of the death penalty there,” he added.
Greek MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos reinforced the need for Europe to use its influence on the international community: ” The European Union is based on the values of the protection of human dignity and human rights. The EU should more actively promote the abolition of the death penalty in the countries with which it has trade and/or political relations.”
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20