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Barbados' attorney general seeks to abolish long-ignored mandatory death penalty for murderers

Barbados plans to abolish its mandatory death penalty for murder convictions — a penalty that the government has ignored for three decades.

No killer has been executed in Barbados since 1984 despite the law, but Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite told reporters Tuesday that the automatic penalty should be formally dropped. He says the government is crafting legislation to remove the clause.

Human rights groups have long criticized the Caribbean island's mandatory death penalty as too harsh and in breach of international law.

Brathwaite says he expects there will be public opposition to the change because many people, in his words, "feel that once you commit murder you should forfeit your lives."