The European Union (EU) has rejected the death sentence handed to 12 Nigerian soldiers by the General Court Martial in Nigeria for alleged mutiny, reports malaysian digest.com, which also quoted allafrica.com.
The EU in a statement issued Thursday on the occasion of the World Day Against Death Penalty condemned all death sentences especially after mass trials as was the case with the Nigerian soldiers.
EU’s Secretary-General, Thorbjørn Jagland, argued that execution had stopped in Europe for close to two decades.
Jagland in the statement said: “On the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the European Union and the Council of Europe reaffirm their strong and absolute opposition to capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and their commitment to its worldwide abolition.
“We are deeply concerned about setbacks in some countries, such as recent mass trials leading to a vast number of death sentences. No execution has taken place in our member states in the last 17 years.
“The European Union and the Council of Europe welcome the fact that all Member States of the European Union have now ratified both Protocols 6 and 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, and urge all other European States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify these instruments which aim at the abolition of the death penalty.”
After sentencing 12 soldiers to death for mutiny recently, Nigerian military authorities also court-martialled 97 officers and men for a similar offence last Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The military court would start sitting on Wednesday, 15 October.
The soldiers are facing trial because they allegedly refused to fight the Boko Haram insurgents in northeast Nigeria.