Amnesty wants halt to execution of death row inmate


Source: FMT News

It adds that according to international law, the mandatory death penalty can only be handed out for ‘the most serious crimes’ such as intentional killings. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia wants the government to immediately halt the execution of a man on death row, expected to take place any time within the next 72 hours.

It said Yong Kar Mun, 48, had “days, if not hours, left to live”, adding that based on existing practice, the execution was expected to take place this week.

“Yong’s family received a letter by hand from the Sungai Buloh Prison at 2pm today, asking the family to visit him for the last time tomorrow at 9am.

“The family does not know when Yong will be executed,” Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said in a statement today.

Yong has been on death row since March 2009. He was sentenced to death under Section 3 of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which carries the mandatory death penalty, read together with Article 37 of the Penal Code, after being found guilty of discharging a firearm during an armed robbery.

Although no casualties occurred as a result of the robbery, another man involved in the act of robbery was shot dead during the subsequent police chase.

Yong failed in his appeals to the Court of Appeal on Oct 6, 2011 and Federal Court on Aug 2, 2012.

Noting that the imposition of the mandatory death penalty is prohibited under international law, Amnesty International added that even in countries where it had not been abolished, the same law restricts the death penalty to “the most serious crimes”, meaning intentional killing.

It said information is hardly made publicly available on individual death penalty cases, and that families are often informed merely days before their loved ones are executed.

“The lack of transparency around executions in Malaysia is a violation of international law and standards.

“Families must have sufficient time to prepare for the last visit and take any further recourse available at the national or international level. To date, they still do not know when the execution is due to be carried out,” Shamini said.

“Amnesty International Malaysia does not downplay the seriousness of the crimes committed, but we urge the authorities to consider introducing more effective crime prevention measures that respect human rights instead of continuously using one that has no merit.”

The NGO also called on the government to immediately impose a moratorium on executions with a view to full abolition.