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

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