Wednesday, October 10, 2018

PH Government need make good promise to abolish ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts’

Media Statement – 10/10/2018 – World Day Against the Death Penalty

PH Government need make good promise to abolish ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts’

-Abolish the Death Penalty And Commute All Death Sentences -

On 10 October 2018, the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) wants to remind the Malaysian government that it has yet to make good its promise to abolish mandatory death penalty in Malaysia.

In the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto, it was clearly stated that ‘The Pakatan Harapan Government will revoke the following laws: Sedition Act, Prevention of Crime Act 1959…Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts…’

Currently in Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for about 12 offences, while about 20 other offences are punishable by a discretionary death penalty. Murder and Drug Trafficking carry the mandatory death penalty. Many of these mandatory death penalty offences do not even involve in any death or grievous injuries to victims.

The effect of abolishing the mandatory death penalty will restore judicial discretion when it comes to sentencing. Judges, will thereafter, be able to evaluate each and every convicted person and determine what the just and fair sentence should be, after taking into account all factors and circumstances.

The mandatory death penalty is undemocratic as it violates the democratic principle of separation of powers. The legislature (Parliament) has robbed the judiciary of their rightful role and power when it comes to sentencing.

When a law, provides for just one mandatory sentence, in this case death, judges on finding a person guilty of the said offence, have no choice but to sentence the convicted to death, even if he/she justly do not justly deserve to be hanged to death.

Many of the politicians and political parties that are now in power, previously in Opposition, were always for the abolition of the death penalty, but now when in power,, it is disappointing to see that they are procrastinating. Further, it must be reminded that they are yet to make good their election promise to repeal all laws that provide for ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging…’, which was a decision and commitment of all the 4 Pakatan Harapan party.

As of end June, there are 1,267 people on death row or 2.7% of the prison population of about 60,000 people. (Star, 28/6/2018) 35 executions took place from 2007 to 2017

The death penalty in Malaysia currently are provided for in secular or ordinary laws, not in Islamic law. As such there is no reasonable justification for any Muslim in Malaysia to oppose abolition of the death penalty on the grounds that Islam allows death penalty for certain specified offences. In Islam, there is a strict requirement to comply with Islamic Criminal Procedure and Evidential requirements. Even then, in Islam, for example murder, there are ways that the death penalty can be avoided.

As the Acts that now provide for death penalty in Malaysia are in the secular law, Muslim politicians and their parties that use the argument that Islam allows for the death penalty, so we oppose the abolition, are very wrong. They need to demonstrate leadership not fear.

The ‘best interest of the child’ is certainly best served by incarceration of a parent, sibling or relative rather than having them hung to death by the State. Malaysia, who have ratified the Child Rights Convention(CRC), has an obligation to do what is in the best interest of the child, and as such this is yet another reason why the death penalty must be abolished.

The possibility of miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable is yet another reason why the Death Penalty needs to be abolished. We recall the words of the then Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, who said “No criminal justice system is perfect. You take a man’s life and years later, you find out that another person did the crime. What can you do?”(Star, 29/8/2010, Abolish death penalty, it’s incorrect to take someone’s life, says Nazri).

In the Malaysian context today, it would have been great injustice if the 2 convicted for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu had been hanged, for then it may result in others involved escaping justice. Likewise, in other cases where there may other perpetrators of the crime still at large, yet to be arrested, charged and tried.

Abolition of the death penalty is an ineluctable global trend. 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes by the end of 2017 and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Malaysia embarrassingly is amongst the few countries who still retain the out-dated death penalty and carry out executions.

In 2018, Malaysia, under UMNO-BN, brought into effect the abolition of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.

It has been about 5 months since the new Pakatan Harapan-led government, but we have yet to see Bills being tabled that will lead to the abolition of the death penalty. Our HOPE is that we will see this happening in the next Parliamentary session or at least by the end of the year.

Being a reformist government, Malaysia needs to make rehabilitation and second chances the principal consideration in sentencing.

MADPET calls for the immediate abolition of the ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts…’ as promised in the Pakatan Harapan’s ‘Buku Harapan: Rebuilding Our Nation Rebuilding Our Hopes’;

MADPET also calls for the abolition of the Death Penalty; and

MADPET also calls for immediate moratorium of all executions pending abolition;

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

*** Malaysian governments continues to 'study' the abolition of death penalty, and this has been ongoing for year...decades?

Governments must put an end to death penalty cruelty and take steps towards full abolition

Prisoners under sentence of death must be treated with humanity and dignity and held in conditions that meet international human rights law and standards, said Amnesty International on World Day Against the Death Penalty (10 October).

The organization is launching a new campaign to pressure five countries, Belarus, Ghana, Iran, Japan and Malaysia, to put an end to inhumane conditions of detention for prisoners sentenced to death and move towards full abolition of the death penalty.

“No matter what crime they may have committed, no one should be forced to endure inhumane conditions of detention. Yet in many cases, prisoners under sentence of death are kept in strict isolation, lack access to necessary medications and live with constant anxiety from the threat of execution,” said Stephen Cockburn, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Programme.

“The fact that some governments notify prisoners and their relatives a few days or, in some cases, a few moments before their execution is cruel.

“All governments retaining the death penalty must immediately abolish it and put an end to the appalling conditions of detention that too many death row prisoners are forced to endure.”

While Amnesty International has documented appalling abuses across the world, its new campaign highlights cases in Belarus, Ghana, Iran, Japan and Malaysia, where death penalty cruelty is rife.

In Ghana, death row prisoners have said they often do not have access to medication to treat illnesses and long-term conditions.

Mohammad Reza Haddadi in Iran, on death row since he was 15 years old, has been forced to endure the mental torture of having his execution scheduled and postponed at least six times over the past 14 years.

Matsumoto Kenji, in Japan, has developed a delusional disorder most likely as a result of his prolonged detention in solitary confinement as he awaits execution.

Hoo Yew Wah, in Malaysia, lodged a petition for clemency in 2014, but is yet to receive any further news.
Secrecy surrounding the use of the death penalty is also prevalent in Belarus, where executions are strictly concealed from the public and are carried out without giving any notice to the prisoners, their families or legal representatives.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Amnesty International recorded 993 executions in 23 countries in 2017, down by 4% from 2016 and 39% from 2015. Most executions took place in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan. These totals do not include the thousands of executions carried out in China, where data on the use of the death penalty remained classified as a state secret. - Amnesty International

Review of mandatory death penalty almost complete, says minister

SANDAKAN: A study to abolish the mandatory death sentence is being finalised before it is presented to the Cabinet, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong.

He said the study was conducted by the Attorney-General’s Chambers following the government’s intention to abolish the death penalty in accordance with international standards on human rights.

“The study of the mandatory death penalty is already in the final stage and I’m sure if possible, we can table the bill by the end of the year,” he said after a community social integration programme in Kampung Karamunting, here, on Saturday night.
The programme was organised by the Sandakan district National Anti-Drug Agency under its Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Committee in collaboration with the Neighborhood Watch (Rukun Tetangga) of Kampung Karamunting.

Liew, who is also in charge of legal affairs, said the mandatory death sentence is for offences relating to drug trafficking, murder and terrorism.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong says appropriate punishment must be given to crimes like murder and terrorism.
He said, in reviewing the punishment, various aspects will be taken into account to ensure appropriate punishment is meted out to offenders, particularly for murder and terrorism.

“For me personally, in drug cases sometimes we are overly hard on those being used as drug mules but our laws against anyone found guilty of trafficking excessive amounts of drugs (Under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) 1952) is the mandatory death sentence.

According to him, if the mandatory death sentence can be abolished, the focus will be on Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and the offender will be sentenced to life imprisonment only.

“But for other crimes such as murder and terrorism, like an invasion of a sovereign nation similar to the tragedy that occurred in Tanduo, Lahad Datu, killing villagers and members of the security forces, we have to take this into consideration to ensure that those arrested for committing these offences are subjected to appropriate punishment,” he said.

In Malaysia, the death penalty carried out by hanging is mandatory for crimes such as murder with intent to kill, trafficking excessive amounts of drugs and possession of firearms.- FMT News, 7/10/2018

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