Death penalty reforms must be an opportunity for positive human rights change — Amnesty International Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

NOVEMBER 3 — Amnesty International Malaysia welcomes the statement by the Malaysian government outlining its efforts  to amend Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and to provide courts with the discretion to spare lives when imposing the death penalty. The organisation encourages the Government of Malaysia to ensure that the proposed amendments will fully remove the mandatory death penalty and establish a moratorium on all executions as first critical steps towards abolition of the death penalty.

The announcement comes after a parliamentary reply by Law Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said on 30 October 2017,  stating that the first draft of the amendment has been completed by the Attorney General’s Chambers and is awaiting the approval of the cabinet.

The announcement comes after a parliamentary reply by Law Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said on 30 October 2017,  stating that the first draft of the amendment has been completed by the Attorney General’s Chambers and is awaiting the approval of the cabinet.

The organisation also welcomes the support of the Attorney General, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali  in giving the discretionary power to the judiciary in drug-related offences in a statement made on 31 October. Read more

Castrating rapists a ‘barbaric act’, say human rights groups

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups are opposed to a proposal that rapists be castrated as a form of punishment, urging authorities not to resort to such “violent” measures.

The proposal in question was discussed a meeting involving the Sarawak state government yesterday.

Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (CAGED) spokesperson Thomas Fann said criminal justice is a federal matter and not for any one state to discuss or decide on.

“Any irreversible procedure like castration, amputation or the death penalty should not be considered, given that no human justice system is perfect and infallible,” Fann said to FMT.

Adding that “punishment alone won’t stop such crimes”, he said it was more important to understand why sexual crimes are committed and what mechanisms can be used to ensure that victims can safely report their situations. Read more

Cabinet agreement on death penalty reforms welcomed — Amnesty International Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

AUGUST 7 — Amnesty International Malaysia welcomes the Cabinet’s decision to allow judges to impose other forms of punishment in place of the mandatory death penalty against those convicted of drug trafficking.

“We welcome the move as a recognition that the mandatory death penalty is egregious form of punishment. However, we remain concerned that the legislative changes are limited to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and that executions continue to be carried out against others who have also been mandatorily sentenced to death,” Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said.

Malaysia imposes the mandatory death penalty for 12 offences, including murder, drug trafficking, terrorism-related offences when these result in death, and some firearms offences. The imposition of the mandatory death penalty is prohibited under international law.

The UN Human Rights Committee has stated that ‘the automatic and mandatory imposition of the death penalty constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life […] in circumstances where the death penalty is imposed without any possibility of taking into account the defendant’s personal circumstances or the circumstances of the particular offence’. Read more

Many in disbelief that Malaysia’s cops rated best in Asean

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Many are in disbelief that the Malaysian police force has been rated the best in Asean, as recently revealed by an international body.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said the ranking was nothing to shout about considering that the yardstick was the police forces of other Asean countries.

“I would certainly question that recognition, and I think that you are not comparing yourself with the standard you aspire to be,” Paulsen told FMT.

He also said it was hard to believe that Malaysia was rated higher than its neighbour, Singapore. Read more

Amnesty calls for release of Bangladesh rights activist

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) today slammed the arrest of Bangladeshi human rights activist Adilur Rahman Khan, saying this is not the first time the government has barred peaceful activists from entering the country.

Calling Khan “the latest target of a growing trend to impose travel bans on rights activists entering Malaysia”, the NGO said he had also been denied access to his lawyer.

“Previously, Hong Kong political activist Joshua Wong, Indonesian human rights defender Mugiyanto Sipin and most recently, Singaporean political activist Han Hui Hui were prevented from visiting the country,” AIM executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said in a statement today.

“We call for the immediate release of Khan, and an end to the use of travel bans against human rights defenders which further stigmatises their work, and limits their ties with the global human rights movement.” Read more

Lawyer says execution of two men an ‘unlawful act’

Source: FMT News

Family of executed brothers wants authorities to explain why they were hanged in a rush, with legal process not exhausted, says lawyer N Surendran. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The family of Rames and Suthar Batumalai, who were hanged four months ago over the murder of a man, is seeking explanations over their execution.

The family’s lawyer N Surendran, in a press conference today, said the family wants the Kajang prison authorities and the home ministry to explain why the execution was carried out without exhausting the legal process.

“When the execution was carried out, the outcome of the clemency petition was still pending. “A clemency petition is part of the legal process, not some discretion. It is not a privilege, but a legal right. Read more

To achieve top tier, stop criminalising trafficking victims, watchdog tells Putrajaya

Source: The Malay Mail Online

AI Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu urges the government to swiftly carry out impartial probes on the alleged torture which she said may have caused the deaths of detainees. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng

AI Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said there are still many issues that Putrajaya needs to address when it comes to human trafficking — Picture by Siow Saw Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 ― Malaysia should stop treating human trafficking victims as criminals if it wishes to be promoted to the top tier in the United States’ annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, Amnesty International said today.

The human rights watchdog’s executive director Shamini Darshini said there are still many issues that Putrajaya needs to address when it comes to human trafficking, despite its status upgrade from Tier 2 Watch List to just Tier 2.

“If Malaysia wishes to achieve Tier 1 status in 2020 as announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon, not treating trafficked victims as criminals would be a good place to start,” she said in a statement, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The watchdog said many trafficked victims are held in “horrendous” detention centres, facing death, illness and diseases, and denial of basic rights including water. Read more

Amnesty wants probe into Kayong murder reopened

Source: FMT News

Human rights group says perpetrators must be brought to justice in the interest of protecting defenders of human rights from attacks, intimidation and harassment. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The discharge and acquittal of three men, one of whom is said to be the mastermind, in the murder of PKR politician and Sarawak human rights activist Bill Kayong suggests there is no accountability for the crime, says Amnesty International (AI)

Urging the authorities to reopen investigations into the murder, AI Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said it was necessary to ensure the perpetrators involved in Kayong’s death were brought to justice.

“The Malaysian authorities must strengthen measures to protect all human rights defenders in Malaysia from attacks, intimidation and harassment.

“Any action in the interest of justice in this case would also ensure Kayong’s family is provided reparations for their great loss,” Shamini said. Read more

Amnesty criticises two ‘secretive executions’, calls for moratorium on death penalty

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said that by providing limited notice, the authorities are also denying the convicts a chance to seek further review of their cases. — Picture by Siow Saw Feng for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Amnesty International Malaysia criticised prison authorities for executing two men earlier today at the Sungai Buloh prison in a secretive manner.

The NGO also demanded the government to establish a moratorium on carrying out death penalties.

In a statement, Amnesty said that 48-year-old Yong Kar Mun, who was convicted of discharging a firearm during robbery, and another individual convicted of murder, were both executed at 5.30am today.

Yong’s execution was allegedly carried out with limited notice, with the family only being informed of the execution less than 24 hours before it was carried out, while no information has been made available on the second convict who was also executed.

“The secretive way through which the Malaysian authorities have been carrying out executions is plain cruel. In these and previous executions, the authorities have added considerable distress to the prisoners and their families and shown blatant disregard for international law and standards ­­— it is high time this practice stopped,” Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said. Read more

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. Read more