Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SUHAKAM and MADPET calls for total abolition of death penalty (Rakyat Post)

Government should look into fully abolishing death penalty, says Suhakam

Source: TRP Source:
Malaysia's use of capital punishment, including a mandatory death sentence for drug dealing, has been criticised by human rights groups and lawyers.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18, 2015:

The government should look into fully abolishing mandatory death penalties, joining the ranks of the majority in the United Nations member states, says a human rights body.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, while applauding the recent announcement stating that Malaysia may soon see the end of mandatory death sentence for drug related offences, said that the next step the government should take is to review all criminal laws.

This, he added, is to ensure that the death penalty, if imposed, is applicable only to the most serious crimes as defined by Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Accordingly, Suhakam recommended that the government look into the possibility of acceding to the ICCPR, and its Second Optional Protocol, and aim towards the eventual abolition of the death penalty in the country.
He also said that Malaysia should follow the steps taken by 140 of the 193 United Nations member states that have not only abolished the death penalty but had also introduced moratoriums.

“The Commission believes that this positive development will bring Malaysia’s position on the issue closer in line with many countries that have in recent years abolished the mandatory death sentence.

“The Commission in 2012 welcomed this proposal following an announcement by the then de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, and reiterates that the death penalty undermines human dignity and violates the right to life.

“The Commission hopes that these proposed amendments will be expeditiously brought to Parliament and that pending such an outcome, there will be a moratorium on all executions,” said Hasmy in a statement today.

He was commenting on a statement made by de facto law minister Nancy Shukri yesterday announcing that the government was currently pursuing plans to abolish the mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences.

She told reporters present at a press conference in the Parliament that a bill would be tabled in March next year which would allow judges to use their discretion to choose between sentencing a person to jail or a death sentence, such as in cases of drug-related offences.

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) today also welcomed the move, saying that the nation may finally see the plan, announced since 2010, become a reality.

Madpet coordinator Charles Hector pointed out to the recent statistics provided by the government, which stated that at present, there are 1,022 persons on death row, while from 1998 until Oct 6 this year, 33 individuals have been executed under the death penalty law.

“It is not clear as to how many persons have been executed, if any, after Dec 18, 2007, the date the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for ‘a moratorium on executions’ pending abolition.

“On Dec 18, 2014, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) reaffirmed for the fifth time since 2007 the call for a stop of all executions.

“Being a member of the United Nations, Madpet hopes that Malaysia has been in compliance with this UN General Assembly Resolution and there have been no executions for many years,” said Hector in a statement issued this morning.

He expressed satisfaction at the fact that Malaysia had commuted the sentence of 127 persons on death row since 1998 and urged for the same to be done for all other individuals currently on death row.

He also urged for the government to look into including provisions allowing the court to review the death sentence of all those currently on death row and alternatively, have all their sentences commuted to “life imprisonment or imprisonment until end of natural life”.

While noting that the recent announcement showed that the government has taken a necessary and positive first step, Madpet urged for the nation to aim further, and fully utilise its position as the head of Asean Chair and urge all other nine Asean member states to also move towards abolishing the death penalty. - Rakyat Post, 18/11/2015

See also:-

MADPET Glad That Malaysia will abolish the Mandatory Death Penalty in 2016

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