Pope Francis is calling for the abolition of the death penalty around the world.
He says the commandment “You shall not kill” is valid for both the guilty and the innocent.
In some of his strongest words ever against capital punishment, Francis also encouraged Catholic politicians to seek a moratorium on executions during the Church’s current Holy Year – which runs until November.
“The commandment ‘you shall not kill’ has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty. Even criminals hold the inviolable right to life, a gift from God,” Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square.
In 2014, 2,466 people were sentenced to death globally, according to Amnesty International – up more than a quarter on the previous year.
As of last summer, 101 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes.