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State set to abolish death penalty

The sponsors of a bill to abolish the death penalty in Illinois said Governor Pat Quinn's staff have told them he intends to sign the bill at a ceremony on Wednesday.

State representative Karen Yarbrough and state senator Kwame Raoul said they have been invited to the bill signing in Mr Quinn's Springfield office.

Illinois would join 15 other states and the District of Columbia without the death penalty. The new law would take effect from July 1.

Former Governor George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions in Illinois in 2000 after the death sentences of 13 men were overturned. Mr Ryan cleared death row before leaving office in 2003.

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From Belfast Telegraph