Malaysian Bar calls for moratorium, review of death sentences

Source: Malay Mail Online

Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Malaysian Bar President George Varughese reiterated today that the Bar’s position was that no offence should attract capital punishment. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — The Malaysian Bar urged Putrajaya today to further amend the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) to allow convicts to seek a review of their death sentences under new provisions to the law, along with a moratorium on executions.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese also expressed concern that judges may still be constrained in exercising their discretion on sentencing, despite the removal of a clause that would have made this contingent on the prosecution’s support.

The DDA was amended by Dewan Rakyat last week to remove the mandatory death penalty, handing discretion to judges when sentencing drug traffickers, but which implored the judiciary to consider mitigating factors when doing so. Read more

Be bold and abolish death penalty, government told

Source: FMT News 

Human rights advocates urge that capital punishment be removed not just for drug trafficking offences, but for all crimes currently punishable by death. Pic from FMT News.

Human rights advocates urge that capital punishment be removed not just for drug trafficking offences, but for all crimes currently punishable by death. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups have urged the government to be bold and abolish the mandatory death penalty in its entirety.

In applauding the Cabinet decision to amend Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to include a clause providing discretionary powers to the courts in sentencing drug traffickers, they said capital punishment was not right.

Amnesty International, Lawyers for Liberty and Suara Rakyat Malaysia all agreed that there was no evidence to show the death penalty reduced crime.

They called on the government to make the anticipated removal of the mandatory death penalty for drug offences the first step towards complete abolition of that particular form of punishment.

“Malaysia is one of some 30 countries that still use the death penalty, including mandatory death penalty, which remains one of the most abhorrent methods of punishing crime,” said Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshini. Read more

UN Human Rights Office condemns secretive executions of two brothers in Malaysia

Source: Independent

The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia condemned the executions of Malaysian brothers, Suthar Batumalai and B. Rames Batumalai, by hanging despite the submission of new evidence in the case.

The UN rights office said the judicial procedures in their case did not fulfill the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process.

The two brothers, who were convicted of murder in 2010, were hanged on Wednesday, despite the submission of a clemency petition last month containing new evidence in the case.

The men were granted a temporary stay of execution as a result of the petition.

“We are gravely concerned that executions of Suthar and B. Rames Batumalai went ahead, despite the pending decision by the Pardons Board on their clemency petition and the allegations that their trial did not meet international standards,” said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia. Read more

Execution of Batumalai brothers: Abolish the death penalty — Suhakam

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MARCH 16 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) refers to the execution of Rames Batumalai and his brother, Suthar Batumalai on March 15, 2017. Suhakam reiterates that the mandatory imposition of the death penalty violates the basic right to life, as enshrined in international human rights law as it constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, as well as denies judges the possibility of taking into account the facts of the offence or the characteristics of each individual offender for purposes of sentencing.

Suhakam is of the opinion that the mandatory death penalty must be abolished so that judges will be given their discretionary power to decide on a sentence for a convicted person.

Suhakam also calls on the Government to review the relevance and effectiveness of capital punishment and recommends that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put into effect.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail
Chairman
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam)

Suhakam calls for moratorium on death penalty

Source: The Sun Daily

SUHAKAMPETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called on the government to review the relevance of capital punishment, recommending for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Referring to the execution of brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai on Wednesday, its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail opined that the mandatory death penalty must be abolished so that judges will be given discretionary powers for a convicted person.

“Suhakam reiterates that the mandatory imposition of the death penalty violates the basic right to life, as enshrined in international human rights law as it constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, as well as denies judges the possibility of taking into account the facts of the offence or the characteristics of each individual offender for the purposes of sentencing,” he said in a statement today. Read more

Gov’t should not wait to amend law, say anti-death penalty groups

Source: Malaysiakini

The government must stop dragging its feet in amending the death penalty law, following the recent announcement that a review of capital punishment in Malaysia has been completed.

Anti-death penalty groups have urged for prompt reform, saying that proposed changes to capital punishment sentences were overdue.

“The attorney-general has said he is not objecting (to reform of mandatory death sentences) last November. (Minister in Prime Minister’s Department) Nancy Shukri has already said she will table the amendments in March 2016. The study was commissioned quite some time ago.

“The government should table the proposed amendments speedily. Delay in amending the law is ‘torturous’ for those still under the death sentence by reason of the existence of the mandatory death penalty provisions in law,” Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) coordinator Charles Hector told Malaysiakini.

Meanwhile, regional grouping Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (Adpan) cited Malaysia’s response at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report in front of UN member countries in late 2013.

“The Malaysian government has, time and again, announced that this study was underway, in response to the UPR review, as well as in response to calls by NGOs for it to abolish the death penalty,” said Adpan executive member Ngeow Chow Ying. Read more

Addendum to Statement on Abolishment of Death Sentence

ADDENDUM TO STATEMENT DATED 19 NOVEMBER 2015
ON ABOLISHMENT OF THE DEATH SENTENCE 

ADDENDUM DATED 20 NOVEMBER 2015

capital punishmentFollowing HAKAM’s statement calling for a moratorium of all 1,022 executions while the government looks into abolishing the mandatory death sentence in Malaysia, HAKAM also urges the government to explore all diplomatic channels to persuade the Singapore government to grant clemency to Kho Jabing, the Sarawakian who is on death row in Singapore. HAKAM acknowledges Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s statement that he will write to appeal to the Singapore government to grant clemency to Jabing.

This is indeed an urgent call for the government to defend one of her citizens on death row. The Malaysian government must view this as a serious case. Kho Jabing was sentenced to death in 2008 and in 2013, Singapore amended its law concerning the mandatory death sentence. This resulted in a resentencing hearing for Kho Jabing. Read more

Addendum to Statement on Abolishment of Death Sentence

pdfADDENDUM TO STATEMENT DATED 19 NOVEMBER 2015
ON ABOLISHMENT OF THE DEATH SENTENCE 

ADDENDUM DATED 20 NOVEMBER 2015

capital punishmentFollowing HAKAM’s statement calling for a moratorium of all 1,022 executions while the government looks into abolishing the mandatory death sentence in Malaysia, HAKAM also urges the government to explore all diplomatic channels to persuade the Singapore government to grant clemency to Kho Jabing, the Sarawakian who is on death row in Singapore. HAKAM acknowledges Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s statement that he will write to appeal to the Singapore government to grant clemency to Jabing.

This is indeed an urgent call for the government to defend one of her citizens on death row. The Malaysian government must view this as a serious case. Kho Jabing was sentenced to death in 2008 and in 2013, Singapore amended its law concerning the mandatory death sentence. This resulted in a resentencing hearing for Kho Jabing. Read more

Lawyers want capital punishment abolished too

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Activists hold heart-shaped signs in calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia. Lawyers in Malaysia welcome a proposal to abolish mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers, but say capital punishment too should be abolished. – Reuters file pic, November 19, 2015.

Activists hold heart-shaped signs in calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia. Lawyers in Malaysia welcome a proposal to abolish mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers, but say capital punishment too should be abolished. – Reuters file pic, November 19, 2015.

Criminal lawyers today threw their support behind a proposal to abolish the mandatory death sentence for drug-trafficking offences, saying it was a step in the right direction.

However, they took it a step further by urging Putrajaya to abolish capital punishment for all serious crimes.

They said the aim of sentencing was to serve as a deterrent and to rehabilitate criminals to be useful citizens in society, but taking one’s life was a form of retaliation by the state against the offender.

They also doubted that the mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking, which came into force about 30 years ago, had helped check the drugs menace. Read more

Freeze all executions pending mandatory death penalty review, says Ambiga

Source: The Malaysian Insider

National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam) president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan says the mandatory death sentence limits the judge’s ability to use discretion based on circumstances of the drug-related offence. – The Malaysian Insider pic, November 19, 2015.

The National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam) has urged the government to impose a moratorium on the execution of 1,022 prisoners on death row for the time being, following Putrajaya’s announcement that it planned to abolish the mandatory death sentence on drug-related offences.

Hakam president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the plan was a step in the right direction and added that it should also be applied to all criminal offences.

She said the mandatory death sentence deprived the sentencing judge the discretion to consider all the relevant facts of the case and the individual circumstances of each convicted person.

“A sentencing judge must be given the option to impose the appropriate sentence,” Ambiga said in a statement today. Read more