In what is very likely the largest commutation of death sentences in modern history, the President of Kenya has announced that all death row inmates will not be executed and that their sentences will be commuted to life imprisonment. Here is the official statement: http://www.statehousekenya.go.ke/.
President Kibaki, upon the advice of the Constitutional Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercies said no death sentence has been carried out in the country for the past 22 years, leading to an accumulation of over 4,000 convicted prisoners on death row in Kenyan prisons.
He explained that the law does not permit prisoners on death row to be gainfully or productively utilized by the prison authority, thus leading to idleness and subsequent negative impact on prison discipline, as recently witnessed in some facilities.
The decision further took into consideration that extended stay on death row causes undue mental anguish and suffering, psychological trauma, anxiety, while it may as well constitute inhuman treatment.
The president directed all relevant government ministries and departments to conduct empirical studies urgently to determine whether the continued existence of death penalty in the laws of the land has any value or impact in the fight against crime.
Thanks to Mark Warren.