In a Parliamentary debate this week Jo called on the Government to do more to campaign for the global abolition of the death penalty.
The debate follows shortly after the UK Government and European Union called all nations to abolish the death penalty on the ‘World Day Against the Death Penalty’ and the ‘European Day Against the Death Penalty’ on 10th October.
In 2008 at least 2,390 people were known to have been executed in 25 countries and at least 8,864 people were sentenced to death in 52 countries around the world. 93% of the executions were carried out by China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA, all of whom have rejected calls for an end to executions worldwide. Two of the cases discussed in the debate were that of Romell Broom, a man in Ohio who recently spent two hours waiting to die as technicians searched for a suitable vein to administer the lethal injection, and British national Akmal Shaikh who is facing imminent execution in China despite suffering with severe mental illness.
Commenting, Jo said:
“It is deeply concerning that countries such as America, which portrays itself as a beacon for human rights and democratic values, continue to endorse this practice. It is barbaric, inhumane and totally unacceptable.
“With regard to China, where the majority of executions last year were carried, it is essential that the UK government reviews its strategies to engage effectively with the country on human rights issues. In the case of Mr Akmal Shaikh I hope the Government will intervene urgently and negotiate with the Chinese authorities to prevent his execution from taking place.”