Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wondering what PKR's and PAS's position is on the Death Penalty - they should call for its abolition.

Death Penalty needs to be abolished. All those on death row should have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment, if need be this would mean natural life, i.e. until they die.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has no plans at the moment to abolish the death sentence but will listen to views from all parties who are against capital punishment, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk V.K. Liew.

"Suggestions will be given consideration from all aspects. In-depth study will be done, as abolishing the death peanlty would have a great impact on the judicial system of the country," he told Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh (BN-Kangar) during question time in Parliament Wednesday.

The abolishment of capital punishment would involve amendments to various criminal laws, he added.

Liew said in the past 10 years, nine prisoners convicted of murder had been executed.

"From 2000 to 2010, a total of 1,601 murder cases were registered with the High Court. After going through appeal, a total of 47 cases were upheld at the Federal Court," he said.

The rest of those on death row were still waiting for the final outcome of the Pardons Board, he added.

Mohd Radzi also said imposing the death sentence by hanging may no longer be suitable and suggested lethal injection instead.

Liew said the Government would take into consideration Mohd Radzi's suggestion.

To another question by Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), who described the death penalty as cruel and unjust and asked for alternatives such as life imprisonment, Liew said there was no alternative at the moment.

"Those convicted have committed serious crime - murder," he said. Star, 1/12/2010, No plans to abolish death sentence, but Govt willing to hear views

The global trend has been towards abolition of the death penalty - and there have been 2 United Nations General Assembly Resolutions towards this end. Another one is expected to be past this month, with even more support from the nations of the world.

There is just too high a risk that we may kill an innocent person - as there are so many flaws in the criminal justice system. In Malaysia, many are very aware of the risk that our the system could be used to get an innocent person convicted, and a guilty one acquitted.

Worse still, we have mandatory death sentences for several offences whereby judges do not even have the discretion to use an alternative sentence when they are not 100% sure. Hence some may just find the person not guilty - and some will send the 'innocent' to the gallows always believing that the appeal courts will correct any mistakes in judgment. This is so wrong for the appeal courts are not able to have sight of the demeanour of witnesses or able to accept some relevant evidence that some lawyer had the High Court failed to present to court. Appeal court judges also cannot ask witnesses questions which was a possibility open to a High Court judge.
Malaysia, for the sake of justice, must abolish the death penalty

No comments: