[JURIST] Italy formally agreed to abolish the death penalty for all purposes by ratifying Protocol 13 [text] to the European Convention on Human Rights [text], the Council of Europe (COE) [official website] announced [press release] Tuesday. Italy is the 41st of the COE's 47 member states to adopt the provision, following France, which adopted [JURIST report] it in 2007. The remaining six states have instituted moratoria on executions.
Italy has been a leading opponent of the death penalty, having banned capital punishment for most purposes since 1948. In September 2007, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi urged all nations to institute a moratorium on capital punishment in an address [text, PDF] delivered to the UN General Assembly. In January 2007, Italy received the support [JURIST report] of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when it launched a new push against the death penalty [JURIST report] following the execution of Saddam Hussein. In May 2007, more than 300 Italian prisoners serving life sentences sent a letter [JURIST report] to the Italian president asking that the death penalty be reinstated.