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9 October 2010

On this day in history: France abolished death penalty, 1981

In March 1981, François Mitterrand [pictured] announced that his opposition to the death penalty while campaigning as the French Socialist Party presidential candidate. His party adopted the policy as 53rd proposition in its electoral programme, 110 Propositions pour la France ('110 Propositions for France'). In the second round of voting on 10th May, Mitterrand defeated the incumbent president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, by the narrow margin of 3.52%.

In August the Council of Ministers approved the plan to abolish capital punishment in France. Robert Badinter, the Minister of Justice and campaigner against the death penalty, presented the bill to the Assemblée Nationale on 17th September. The next day the bill the assembly voted 363 to 117 to pass the bill.

The assembly rejected a number of amendments to the bill made by the Sénat (Senate of France), and both houses voted to pass the bill at the end of September. On 9th October 1981, the law was promulgated and France became the last western European nation to abandon capital punishment. Consequently, Hamida Djandoubi became the last person to be executed in France - guillotined at Baumettes Prison in Marseille on 10th September 1977 after being found guilty of torture and murder.

Related posts
Sir Walter Ralegh beheaded: 29th October 1618
First execution in Salem witch trials: 10th June 1692
Guillotine used for first time: 25th April 1792
Louis XVI executed: 21st July 1793
Prince Murat executed: 13th October 1815
Rosenbergs executed: 19th June 1953


Elvira's Roundabout said...

this was France so many years ago, heading to a humane world, but now, protests in France indicates that people are not happy with their current policies.

From my blog:
Chinese Activist Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Layla White, PoweredServices said...

People are never happy, so it seems.

Mandy Southgate said...

Very interesting and rather macabre that the last execution was by guillotine. Any execution is macabre, I guess but this just seems more so.

Unknown said...

ER: Civilisation seems to be a process of two steps forward and one step back, which is progress of a sort.

E: It may be because we see the guilotine as antiquated, but then in the UK hanging was the method of execution, which is surely even older.

Thank you all for the comments.