[JURIST] Hundreds of Italian prison inmates have sent a letter [La Repubblica report, in Italian] to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano [official profile] asking him to restore the country's death penalty. More than 300 of the 1,300 prisoners serving life sentences signed the letter, "asking for our life sentence to be changed to a death sentence" because of the lack of any future beyond the prison. Napolitano, in response, said that it is not up to the parliament and government to decide the fate of the prisoners' request.
Italy abolished the death penalty in 1948, and has been a leader in the fight against the death penalty in both the European Union and the United Nations. In January, Italy gained the support [JURIST report] of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when it launched a new push against the death penalty [IPS report] following the execution of Saddam Hussein. On the whole, Italians fervently oppose [CNN report] capital punishment, often protesting high-profile death penalty cases abroad. BBC News has more.