Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday vowed to abolish the death penalty at the federal level if elected president after news broke that Attorney General William Barr has directed the Bureau of Prisons to resume capital punishment for the first time in nearly two decades.
“There’s enough violence in the world. The government shouldn’t add to it,” tweeted Sanders, the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to respond to the news. “When I am president, we will abolish the death penalty.”
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In his directive, Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of five inmates currently on death row.
According to the Washington Post the “last federal execution was in 2003.”
“In the years since, there has been an informal moratorium on executions of federal prisoners, as Justice Department officials reviewed its lethal injection procedures,” the Post reported. “That practice was underscored during the Obama administration by then-Attorney General Eric Holder’s personal opposition to the death penalty, even while he approved prosecutors’ decisions to seek the death penalty in specific trial.”
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