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European Union Welcomes Abolition Of Death Penalty In Maryland

The European Union has warmly welcomed abolition of death penalty in the U.S. state of Maryland.

The abolition bill, signed by Governor Martin O'Malley on Thursday, makes Maryland the 18th U.S. state to scrap death penalty since the U.S. Supreme Court approved new capital laws in 1976.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton in a statement congratulated the Governor, the Senate and the House of Delegates on the historic decision.

She said the "European Union strongly hopes that this decision will encourage other U.S. States to follow suit in joining the growing national and worldwide movement towards the abolition
of the use of capital punishment."

"More than a third of U.S. states have now abolished the death penalty, and we urge the remaining 32 states, and the federal government, to follow suit," Amnesty International USA's Abolish the Death Penalty campaign director said in a statement.

Seven U.S. states - Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, Alabama and Florida - account for nearly three-quarters of the more than 1,000 executions nationwide since 1994.

Amnesty International also urged Governor O'Malley to commute the death sentences of the five men who remain on death row in Maryland despite the abolition bill. This would avoid the cruel prospect of the state applying a punishment that it has rightly rejected.

by RTT Staff Writer

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