In the scope of the recognition of the Charter of Law of Abolition of the Death Penalty by the European Heritage Label, we celebrate 150 years of the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Portugal (1867-2017).

Portugal was one of the first countries to inscribe a law to abolish the death penalty to civil crimes in its legal system, achieving the leading role amongst the pioneer countries of the inspiring desideratum of the Milanese philosopher Cesare Beccaria.

The extent of the act had big impact on the European context of the time.

The example of Portugal was used to create an argument for the supporters of the abolitionist fronts of the time. The argument was based on the fact that Portugal was a country that had the courage to embrace and undertake a reform with a big civil impact, despite being born in and having the same traditional, cultural and historical heritage than other regions in Europe.

Before, just like today, the Charter of Law of 1867 had a strong symbolic value for Europe, since it comprises a lot of the values and principles currently inscribed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular those related to the values of tolerance and respect for human life.

In April 2015, the Charter of Law was selected by the European Commission as an European Heritage Label because of its significance and contribution to the history, culture and principles of the European Union.

Therefore, we are proud to participate in this milestone of such importance to our civic conscience and historic experience as Portuguese, European and World citizens, in association with entities from various fields in our society.


Silvestre Lacerda

Director General