20 Feb 2003

Samoa's deputy PM reiterates opposition to death penalty

12:03 pm on 20 February 2003

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni has reiterated his objections to the death penalty.

The recent killing of a five year-old girl after she had been sexually attacked has re-ignited the debate over whether Samoa should enforce the death penalty for murder.

The death penalty has not been carried out for more than 40 years, with the sentence usually commuted to life in prison.

Misa, speaking at the opening of a counselling service, Lifeline Samoa, asked what would be achieved by killing the offender.

He has urged an examination of the mental state of someone who could carry out such a crime.

The Deputy Prime Minister has echoed the sentiments of the Chairman of the National Council of Churches, the Reverend Ofa Fauola, who says the only solution is to "return to God."