From the International Herald Tribune [Rome lights up Colosseum to celebrate UN vote on death penalty, abolition in New Jersey].
The city of Rome lit up the Colosseum on Wednesday to celebrate a U.N. vote calling for a moratorium on the death penalty and a decision by the U.S. state of New Jersey to abolish capital punishment.About 133 civilized countries have abolished the death penalty but there are still 100 countries that retain it. According to Amnesty International, 90% of all executions worldwide take place in only six countries: Chain, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Pakistan and Sudan [UN Assembly calls for moratorium on death penalty].
The ancient arena was bathed in white light as Italy celebrated the U.N. General Assembly resolution approved Tuesday despite opposition by supporters of the death penalty, including the United States, Iran and China.
Italy, a firm opponent of capital punishment, spearheaded the drive for the nonbinding resolution, which was co-sponsored by European Union states and 60 other countries.
Italy also hailed the signing Monday of a law abolishing the death penalty in New Jersey, making it the first U.S. state to abolish capital punishment in more than 40 years.
Rome's Colosseum, once the arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, has become a symbol of Italy's fight against capital punishment. Since 1999, the 1st century monument has been lit up every time a death sentence is commuted somewhere in the world or a country abolishes capital punishment.