Maldives – ADPAN and Ors say, ‘ immediately halt plans to carry out the execution of Hussain… ‘

JOINT STATEMENT

17 July 2016

Maldives: Resumption of executions after six decades would be a major setback for human rights

We, the undersigned organizations, are alarmed at recent statements by members of the Maldives government, including President Abdullah Yameen, indicating that the country will resume executions imminently. We urge the authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on all executions as a first step towards full abolition of the death penalty. The Maldives should maintain its commendable six-decade-long track record of not carrying out any executions.
Since 2012 Maldives has changed its position from voting against UN General Assembly resolutions calling on states to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty to abstaining. We hoped that this signalled the beginning of the country’s journey to rid itself of this punishment once and for all. This would have been consistent with the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty which continues unabated, despite a recent significant increase in the number of recorded executions in a handful of countries. In 2015, the majority of the world’s countries became abolitionist for all crimes following the repeal of the death penalty from national legislation in Congo (Republic of), Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname. Nauru abolished the death penalty this year and abolition processes are being finalized in Guinea and Mongolia.
In Maldives, however, authorities have since 2014 taken steps to resume executions, including by amending national legislation. New regulations, among other steps, have seen the following changes:
Introduction of lethal injection as the method of execution, which was subsequently changed again to hanging in June 2016;
Removal of the power from the executive to grant pardons or commutations of death sentences in murder cases, depriving those facing the death penalty of the right to apply for these as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Maldives is a state party; and
Shortened time frame for appeals in capital cases, which risks undermining the prisoners’ right to adequate time to prepare their appeal.
Government officials have also pledged that executions should happen within 30 days of the confirmation of guilty verdicts by the Supreme Court.
If Maldives resumes executions, it would not only go against the global trend towards abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, but it would also be in violation of Maldives’ obligations under international law. We are concerned that several international and national safeguards that must be observed in all capital cases were breached in the recent case of Hussein Humaam Ahmed, who was convicted for the murder of Dr Afrasheem Ali, a sitting MP, in 2012.

Humaam on 24 June 2016 became the first person to have his conviction and death sentence upheld by the Maldives Supreme Court after the recent legal reforms. Our concerns include the fact that Humaam retracted a pre-trial confession, which he has insisted he made due to fear for the safety of his family members, but the trial court nevertheless took into account this “confession” in its guilty verdict.

Furthermore, claims by Humaam and his family that he has a mental disability which directly affected his capacity to support his legal representatives in the overall effectiveness of his defence were ignored during his trials. No independent psychiatric evaluation of Humaam has taken place as far as his family or legal representatives are aware. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 24 June 2016 despite the victim’s father and brother asking to delay the implementation of the death sentence of Humaam, citing an “incomplete investigation” into the circumstances of his murder. Humaam’s execution may be imminent.
There are at least a total of 17 prisoners on death row in Maldives, all of whose lives are at risk should the authorities resume executions. In early July 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of another murder convict, Ahmed Murrath, meaning his execution could also be imminent.
It is also concerning that the Maldivian authorities are citing the resumption of executions as a necessary measure to prevent crime. Studies have consistently failed to show that the death penalty is more of a deterrent to crime than other forms of punishment.
We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately halt plans to carry out the execution of Hussain Humaam Ahmed and to commute his, and all other, existing death sentences in Maldives. These, together with the establishment of a moratorium on all executions, must be the first, urgent steps towards full abolition of the death penalty.
Co-signed by:

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (Iran)
Amnesty International
Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, ADPAN
Association Justice and Mercy, AJEM (Lebanon)
Embrey Human Rights Program (Southern Methodist University-Dallas, Texas)
Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme, FIDH
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative
German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Greater Caribbean for Life
Hands Off Cain
Human Rights Law Service (Nigeria)
International Commission of Jurists (Kenyan section)
International CURE
Iran Human Rights
Italian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Lawyers For Human Rights International (India)
Lutte pour la justice (France)
Lifespark (Switzerland)
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture, MADPET
Ordre des Barreaux francophones et germanophone de Belgique
Parliamentarians for Global Action
Reprieve
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, TAEDP
Think Centre (Singapore)
World Organisation Against Torture, OMCT

MALAYSIA : Moratorium on Executions for Drug Offenders Only?

MADPET urges Putrajaya to announce moratorium on death penalty

| July 14, 2016

The NGO expressed satisfaction that Malaysia has in place a “moratorium” on executions, especially for those languishing on death row for drug trafficking.
MADPET
KUALA LUMPUR: MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) has expressed satisfaction that Malaysia has in place a “moratorium on executions, especially for those languishing on death row for drug trafficking.
The NGO urged the Malaysian Government to extend the “moratorium” on executions to all persons on
death row, not for just those convicted for drug trafficking. “This only makes sense, since Malaysia is now in the process of abolishing the death penalty, beginning with the mandatory death penalty,” said MADPET spokesman Charles Hector in a statement.
He referred to Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s current AICHR (ASEAN Intergovernmental
Commission on Human Rights) representative, as reportedly saying “…Malaysia’s moratorium, I understand, is only for drug trafficking cases…’ (Star, 10/7/2015).”
“It must be noted that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), also did reiterate on 29 March 2016 their recommendation that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put in place in Malaysia”.
MADPET thinks that “this positive development” should not be kept secret, but should have long been proudly announced by the Malaysian Government.
In fact, continued Hector, Nancy Shukri, then de facto Law Minister, should have proudly announced Malaysia’s moratorium on executions when she took the stage at the 6th World Congress Against Death Penalty in Malaysia.
The existence of the mandatory death penalty, for offences that do not result in death, as in the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, only unnecessarily increases the risk of victims and/or witnesses to these crimes being killed by perpetrators to avoid the mandatory death penalty, said MADPET.
There are at least 10 offences in Malaysian laws that carry the mandatory death penalty, whereby only three are for offences that result in the death of the victim, added Hector. He cited the laws: Murder (sec.302 Penal Code), Committing terrorist acts where the act results in death (sec. 130C (1)(a) Penal Code); and Hostage taking where the act results in death (sec. 374(a) Penal Code).
For all the other mandatory death penalty offences, death does not result, he pointed out. “We are referring to Drug Trafficking (sec. 39B Dangerous Drugs Act 1952) and six types of offence listed in the Schedule of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which includes robbery, kidnapping, extortion and house trespass.” – FMT News, 14/7/2016

 

See related post:-

‘SECRET’ MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS IN MALAYSIA MUST BE PROUDLY ANNOUNCED AND MADE PUBLIC

Media Statement – 14/7/2016

‘SECRET’ MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS IN MALAYSIA MUST BE PROUDLY ANNOUNCED AND MADE PUBLIC

-Abolish Death Penalty –

MADPET is happy that Malaysia have in place a moratorium on executions, especially for those languishing on death row for drug trafficking. Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s current AICHR (ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights) representative, was recently reported saying ‘…Malaysia’s moratorium, I understand, is only for drug trafficking cases…’ (Star, 10/7/2015). It must be noted that Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), also did reiterate on 29 March 2016 their recommendation that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put in place in Malaysia.

MADPET is of the opinion that this positive development should not be kept secret, but should have long been proudly announced by the Malaysian government. In fact, Nancy Shukri, the de facto Law Minister, should have proudly announced Malaysia’s moratorium on executions when she took the stage at the 6th World Congress Against Death Penalty in Malaysia.

At the said Congress in Oslo, Norway on 21 June 2016, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, did state that Malaysia will soon be amending the laws to do away with the mandatory death penalty. Although, no time frame was mentioned, MADPET and others have called that these long overdue amendments be tabled at the upcoming sitting of Parliament in October 2016. In November 2015, the same Minister has said that the amendments would be tabled in the March 2016 sitting of Parliament.

MADPET urges Malaysia to extend the moratorium on executions to all persons on death row, not just those convicted for drug trafficking. This only makes sense, since Malaysia is now in the process of abolishing the death penalty, beginning with the mandatory death penalty.

In May 2016, Malaysia disclosed that there are 1,041 persons on death row. Based on the statistics revealed in 2011, when the number on death row was 696 (as 22/2/2011), 479(69%) were for drug trafficking, 204(29%) were for murder and 13(2%) for illegal processions of arms. It looks like almost all that may be on death row are for mandatory death penalty offences.

There are at least 10 offences in Malaysian laws that carry the mandatory death penalty, whereby only 3 are for offences that result in the death of the victim – Murder [sec.302 Penal Code], Committing terrorist acts where the act results in death [sec. 130C (1)(a) Penal Code]; and Hostage taking where the act results in death [sec. 374(a) Penal Code]. For all the other mandatory death penalty offences, death does not result, namely Drug Trafficking (sec. 39B Dangerous Drugs Act 1952) and 6 types of offence listed in the Schedule of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which includes robbery, kidnapping, extortion and house trespass.

The existence of mandatory death penalty, for offences that do not result in death, as in the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, only unnecessarily increase the risk of victims and/or witnesses to these crimes being killed by perpetrators to avoid the mandatory death penalty.

Malaysia’s moratorium on execution will be most welcome by everyone including the international community, as it will be seen to be in compliance with the now 5 existing United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) Resolutions, the first in 2007 and the last being in 2014, that called for ‘a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty’. Every time, these UNGA Resolutions have been tabled, the number of countries that have voted in favour have been increasing, demonstrating that the global trend is towards abolition.

Malaysia has every reason to be proud of the fact that they have been considering abolition, have in fact carried out serious studies which have now been concluded, and will be soon be taking the first step by abolishing mandatory death penalty. Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali, also the Public Prosecutor, is also for the scraping of the mandatory death penalty, and he was reported saying in 2015, that the ‘…mandatory death sentences were a “paradox”, as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals….’.

MADPET also urges Edmund Bon, to emulate his predecessor, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, in publicly declaring his personal position for the abolition of the death penalty. AICHR Representatives should also at the very least take a stand for the abolition of the death penalty in ASEAN, as had been done by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM).

MADPET urges Malaysia to immediately extend the moratorium on executions to all, not just only for those convicted for drug trafficking.

MADPET urges that Malaysia tables in the upcoming sitting of the Malaysian Parliament in October 2016, amendments and/or legislations that will see the abolition of the mandatory death penalty; and

MADPET urges Malaysia to abolish the death penalty.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

 

Note: Below extract from news report of an interview with Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s new representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) as published by the Star..

Is there a consensus within Asean with regard to the death penalty?

No. But within AICHR, there is a move to study whether we should get rid of the death penalty. One of the countries in AICHR has proposed this. We’re looking at how we can do it in stages. Malaysia’s moratorium, I understand, is only for drug trafficking cases. To the credit of my predecessor, he has raised this a number of times but he has not and we (AICHR) have not said, ‘let’s make a decision on this’ because some countries need the time to buy in, be comfortable that the death penalty is not sufficiently a deterrent punishment looking at the statistics. So we need a thematic study to convince the countries, including Malaysia. – Star, 9/7/2016, Improving Malaysia’s profile

Source: – MADPET Website

  • MADPET(Malaysians Against Detah Penalty and Torture) is a member of ADPAN

 

Taiwan:- Interview with Lin Hsin-yi of TAEDP (ADPAN member)

INTERVIEW: Fighting for the Innocent on Death Row in Taiwan

Why you need to know

‘There are records of the torture – no one can believe it, but it happened, it is very serious.’

Lin Hsin-yi (林欣怡), executive director the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP), believes that at least three people who are currently on death row in Taiwan are innocent.

The organization and the lawyers it works with have reviewed all of the judgments in which the death penalty has been handed down over the past 15 years. In addition to the three cases identified so far, Lin says there is reason to believe there have been many more miscarriages of justice.

In an interview with The News Lens International at TAEDP’s Taipei office, Lin discusses the difficulties activists and lawyers have in gaining access to case records, why pressure from local activists and international diplomats has failed to change government policy, and details TAEDP’s new strategy for influencing the government.

The News Lens International (TNLI):To start with, how many people in Taiwan currently face the death penalty?

Lin Hsin-yi: Right now there are 41 death row inmates, where the death sentence was confirmed. If the Minister of Justice signs the execution order, they can be executed at any time.

TNLI: What is the process that the Minister of Justice takes, after a final Supreme Court decision, before signing an execution order?

L.H-Y: There is no law to say that he or she has to sign the execution order. The only rule is if he or she signs the order, the execution must take place within three days.

There is no law that says once the sentence is finalized then the execution must happen. The Minister of Justice, he or she can decide not to sign the execution order.

TNLI: I would like to come back to the current Minister of Justice later on, but first can you talk about how Taiwan uses the death penalty in comparison to other countries in Asia?

L.H-Y: We just went to Oslo for the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty – the biggest congress for abolitionists. People think that in Taiwan the situation is not so bad compared to Southeast Asia or even Japan, because the execution number is not increasing – maybe it’s decreasing a little – and we don’t use the death penalty for drugs and terrorism.

TNLI: Just to clarify, that is because under international law, the death penalty should only be for the most serious harmful crimes, and drugs aren’t considered part of that?

L.H-Y: Yes, that is right.

Transparency in Asia is not good – not only in Japan and Taiwan, but also Southeast Asian countries. We don’t know much about the death row inmates. For example, in Taiwan and Japan, the government will not tell the family or the lawyer when the execution will happen. In Southeast Asia, it is very difficult for them to meet with death row inmates.

For us, we have had a moratorium for four years. You can see that from 2000 – when power switched for the first time from KMT to DPP – the president, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), first announced Taiwan is going to abolish the death penalty gradually. The moratorium started in 2006. In 2008, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that Taiwan would follow the international human rights standards. In 2009, we passed the two [international] covenants, so that it become our domestic law. From that trend, Taiwan was going towards abolishing the death penalty.

According to the [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], if a country ratifies the ICCPR it means that you are going towards abolishing the death penalty. Currently, in Taiwan, the politicians will say ‘the ICCPR says we can only use the death penalty for the most serious crimes, but it did not say we could not execute people.’

It is very ironic. We have already had a moratorium and signed the ICCPR. The government had given a commitment. But then, after that, the executions reopened in 2010.

TLNI: Obviously, the public sentiment over crime was a factor when the executions restarted. What is your view on why the majority of Taiwanese support capital punishment?

L.H-Y: Actually, we did a public opinion survey in 2014. You can see that there is a problem with the surveys; mostly, they make a phone call and ask one or two questions about whether you support the death penalty. Usually, this kind of survey takes place after some serious crime. Of course, most people will say ‘I support the death penalty.’

We decided to survey with [Academia Sinica]. We interviewed more than 2,000 people, with a very long questionnaire. The major finding is: if people have more information about the death penalty, they will be more against it.

My view on: ‘Why does the public want the death penalty so badly?’ It is because the government did not provide more information. The government says, ‘We cannot abolish the death penalty because of public opinion.’ But from my view, the public opinion is not ‘we want the death penalty.’ If you analyze the survey very carefully, you will understand that public opinion is more complicated. The government should do the research and give an alternative to the public. They haven’t tried to have a strategy, a policy, a real alternative.

TNLI: Following the release of your survey results, has there been growth in support for the death penalty abolition movement in Taiwan?

L.H-Y: We released the survey at an international conference, and we plan to release more analysis on it, but it is not published yet. We did provide the information to the Minister of Justice, but the impact was not big.

Our plan for next year is to have more grassroots, local discussions about this. For the people around Taiwan, most people they don’t really think about this question. We will have 30 or 40 events all over Taiwan. We will go to places where maybe they haven’t had this kind of discussion before. We will not just discuss “should we have the death penalty or not,” we will discuss the alternatives – like life sentence without parole, or life sentence with the chance of parole after 25 years. From the survey, we know that if people have an alternative, they will choose that.

Right now, we are discussing how to make the survey easier to understand. We don’t want to publish an academic book. It is a pity that the release of that report didn’t have much impact on the government or the public, but we will use the survey to do more.

TNLI: We have gone from the KMT to the DPP-led government, they have only been in charge for a short time, but what are the early signals from the DPP on this issue?

L.H-Y: The Minister of Justice, Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), has not said anything clearly [on this issue]. He seems more focused on prison reform and the national judicial reform.

Of course the President and the Minister of Justice are important, because they have power, but we also have a new congress. I think the new lawmakers are much more willing to deal with these questions – maybe not [the question of] abolishing the death penalty right now, but they will consider prison reform and the alternatives [to the death penalty].

TNLI: You mentioned judicial reform. In terms of how this applies to the death penalty, have there been miscarriages of justice in Taiwan, and if so what are the problems in the system that causes these results?

L.H-Y: Last year we reviewed all the [Supreme Court] death penalty judgments from 2000, 75 cases and 68 judgments – in some cases there were two death row inmates.

Right now we are working on three cases – within the 41 current death row inmates – and we believe they are innocent.

Chiou Ho-shun (邱和順), he was in detention for 23 years then his death penalty was confirmed in 2011. He is now 56, which means half his life he has been in prison, for a crime we believe he didn’t commit. The Control Yuan, [Taiwan’s ombudsman], says that the police tortured him. There are records of the torture – no one can believe it, but it happened, it is very serious.

Another case is Cheng Hsing-tse (鄭性澤). He was charged with [the 2002] killing a policeman in KTV [karaoke bar]. We found evidence he too was tortured. This year his lawyers asked for a retrial, and that was successful. It is now in the retrial process, so the case is basically reopened. This time the prosecutors are on our side, they believe he is innocent too.

TNLI: If the prosecutors now think he is innocent, who is making the case against him, how is there a retrial?

L.H-Y: It is something new for us, too. This is a very strange situation, the prosecutors and [defense] lawyer are on the same side. But the victims’ families have lawyers.

TNLI: And the victims’ families still want to prosecute?

L.H-Y: Yes. For them, if was not Cheng Hsing-tse, then who? They have believed for 14 years that he murdered the policeman. We hope that from the court hearing and the evidence we provide, maybe they will understand.

TNLI: And the third case?

L.H-Y: The third is Hsieh Chih-hung (謝志宏). There were two offenders, and they were both sentenced to death. We don’t think there is enough evidence to show they committed the crime together, but he was at the crime scene, he was there.

This case is weaker than the other two. The first two have very clear evidence of torture, but the third one the torture is not so clear. We have found out some things, but it is a more difficult case.

TNLI: So you have suspicions he was tortured during the interrogation?

L.H-Y: Yes, but in the first case we have the record, the second we have the photos and the doctor’s records, the third one is not so clear.

TNLI: These are three cases out of 41, and you mentioned earlier the difficulty in accessing people on death row. Looking around this office, you have three full-time employees and some interns. You obviously don’t have endless resources to look at all the cases. Do you think that if you could look closely at other cases you find more issues as well?

L.H-Y: Yes. Let me explain a little of our background. We were formed in 2003, there were only volunteers. Since 2006, we have co-operated with the Legal Aid Foundation, and since then we have had more information about the cases. We know their names, we know where they are and we started to communicate with the death row inmates.

In 2007, we had our first fulltime staff, me. The way we work is, when we have a case we find a lawyer and money is paid by the Legal Aid Foundation – not very much, but it helps.

If we can start to help them from the beginning, then maybe the decision of the trial will not be so bad. But because of our resources, we can only help the urgent ones when they are facing execution, and the lawyers can help them with a constitutional review, or a retrial or an ordinary appeal.

Recently, we have done more lawyer training. In Taiwan, the lawyers do not do a lot of training in international law.

And now we try to work on the cases from the start of the process. If we see a murder in the news, we try to connect with the Legal Aid Foundation to see if [the accused] has a lawyer. If he doesn’t have a lawyer, we try to arrange a team of three lawyers to work on the case.

We hope that if we work from the beginning then we will not have a death sentence.

TNLI: So you are able to offer better support to the more recent cases?

L.H-Y: Yes. But still we right now, for every confirmed [death penalty] case, we have a lawyer to review the older files.

But some cases are very old, we try to get files from the Ministry of Justice but [the files] are not good enough. Some lawyers want more records and information about investigations – records of interrogations. The papers may say everything is good, but if you listen to the sound recording it is different.

TNLI: The lawyers are finding differences between the written records and what was actually said? And the Ministry of Justice won’t provide all the original recordings?

L.H-Y: Some [requests for recordings] were successful, some were not. For the lawyers who are dealing with the old cases, it is not that easy to find enough information to prove a case was wrong.

I believe there are a few cases that have a chance [the accused] was innocent, but we don’t have enough information.

Of course, there are other cases where they are not innocent, but still the death sentence is not the sentence for them. So we can still find a lot of problems in the old cases.

TNLI: You have these 41 cases, and at any time, essentially, the Minister of Justice could sign the execution warrants. Under the previous Minister of Justice, who was pushing these death warrants and why?

L.H-Y: You must know Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), the MRT case, and the execution.

When a final death sentence is confirmed, normally there will be time for the lawyers to appeal. For the MRT case, when the Supreme Court gave the final decision of the death sentence it issued a press release [leading to the death warrant signed and the execution quickly carried out]. Usually, it takes more than ten days or one month, and then, when the lawyer gets the final judgment, they can do something.

I don’t think there is really public pressure. Of course someone will say, ‘He should be executed immediately.’

TNLI: This is the victims’ families, their lawyers?

L.H-Y: No, just people. This was the first time this kind of case happened in Taiwan, so people are worried about it. For other cases – murder over money, arguments, love – we know the reason. For the MRT case, we don’t know the reason.

TNLI: These are the so-called random killings?

L.H-Y: Yes, people are worried about that. So people say the trial must be quick and he must be sentenced to death and executed.

At this time though, we knew there was a new Minister of Justice coming in one month. [Then-minister] Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪)] did not have to do this.

TNLI: The criticism at the time was Luo was trying to gain popular support, so the final decision in these cases has become politicized?

L.H-Y: Yes. It was not necessary for her; she has no chance to be appointed to any [future] position from the government.

In the other executions, when a case is finalized there is a prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice who will give the suggestion to the Minister of Justice that one should be executed.

You can see from 2010 to 2015, every year we have one execution [round] where four of five people are executed. There is always a political reason. It is always following a political issue – Ma Ying-jeou wanting to save his public support.

TNLI: Do you think, given public support for executions, this will make it difficult for the new minister of justice?

L.H-Y: In Europe, they abolished the death penalty because of political will. At that time, the public opinion supported the death penalty, but the politicians led. In Taiwan, this is impossible, because the politicians will not go against public opinion, because they are so afraid of losing votes.

This is why we really want to talk to the public. We know that only public opinion can help us to impact the politicians. But right now, about 80% of people support the death penalty. But as I say, if they have an alternative they may change their opinion. That is why we are trying to discuss with the public to change their ideas.

TNLI: Every time there is an execution the European Union representatives in Taiwan and others in the international community write papers and try to lobby the government. What impact does that have?

L.H-Y: I think it helps. Take the 2010 executions. At that time, the Minister of Justice, Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫), executed four people and said he was going to execute 44. Then the E.U. lobbied and used all the diplomatic tools, and then it was stopped at four, not 44. I think it really helped.

Maybe after that, each time the affect is not so strong because the government gets used to it. Still, if the E.U. said nothing about this, I think the [Ma] government would have executed more people.

They are not only critical of the government, but they try to help. They have judicial exchange programmes with our judges, which I think is very good. Judges won’t listen to lawyers or NGOs, but they will listen to other judges.

TNLI: Finally, after the most recent of the so-called “random” killings, some commentators pointed to issues surrounding how mental health is treated in the judicial system. Do you think this is also important in discussions about the death penalty in Taiwan?

L.H-Y: Yes. We do training to help the lawyers to argue this issue in the court. But right now judgments on mental issues are not very consistent; there are two opposite opinions on this from the court.

Another problem is the testing of mental problems. So we are trying to talk to the doctors and to the lawyers and try to discuss what the best way is to approach this issue.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole

Source:- The NewsLens, 11/7/2016

 

** Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) is an active member of ADPAN

Maldives to have first execution in 60 years in order to showcase ‘Islamic credentials’

Maldives to have first execution in 60 years in order to showcase ‘Islamic credentials’

maldives10
Male (Maldives): Beleaguered Maldives President Abdulla Yameen is adamant that the first execution of a convict in sixty years will take place under his watch as a reiteration of Maldives’ Islamic credentials.

The politically isolated president, who is shunned by colleagues and family, is refusing to intervene despite several scholars calling the proposed execution un-Islamic.He has also ignored appeals of human rights groups and even the United Nations to stay the execution.

Twenty two-year-old Hussain Humaam Ahamed was condemned to death by the Maldives Supreme Court in 2014 for the murder of a Member of Parliament, Afrasheem Ali, in 2012.

The verdict was based on a confession that was obtained when he was in custody, which he retracted later. The Supreme Court, over which President Yameen has a stranglehold, disregarded the claim that Humaam has a mental disability and the request for an independent psychiatric evaluation.

If the death sentence is carried out, it will be the first execution in the Maldives since 1953.

The voices of protest have been crushed in the Maldives due to strict curbs, but renowned Islamic scholar at the University of Oxford, Tariq Ramadan, in a letter to President Yameen, has listed out reasons why the proposed execution is un-Islamic.

Citing extensively from the Hudud – the Islamic Penal Code, Ramadan has argued that 22-year-old Humaam’s death penalty contravened many basic prescriptions in the Shariah.

Stating that Humaam’s `confession’ was forcefully obtained, undermining fairness of his trial at a basic level, Ramadan has pointed out that pleas made by Humaam’s family that he was suffering from mental disability, has been totally disregarded by the court.

This, Ramadan argues, is also against Islamic law and jurisprudence as any doubt about the mental health of a murderer should play in his or her favour.

The heavy conditions found in the Islamic legislation have as a raison d’etre (`illah) to avoid any doubt; if there is the slightest doubt, then the punishment should be suspended.

Ramadan also emphasises that it was un-Islamic on the part of President Yameen to ignore requests of the victim’s father and brother, who have stated that they do not wish the death sentence to be implemented.

This call to spare Humaam’s life by two members of the victim’s family cannot be ignored under Sharia law. According to the principles of qisas, if the family of the victim asks for the sentence not to be implemented at any time before the execution (for the majority of the `ulama’), the latter should be suspended whatever the public authority might decide.

If Yameen were to respect Shariah conditions, it is imperative for him to listen to the family’s position, says the scholar. Ramadan adds that the above and beyond all of this, Rahmah (compassion) is an absolute necessity and an essential principle even if there is no element of doubt and conditions are met.

Tariq Ramadan has categorically stated in his letter to President Yameen that Humaam’s execution would contravene the fundamental principles of Islamic law and urged the latter to take all possible actions to prevent the execution.

Tariq Ramadan has got support from human rights groups around the world who have appealed to the Maldivian president that International law prohibits the use of death penalty against people with mental disabilities. But President Yameen, who has reintroduced capital punishment after a moratorium of 60 years, seems determined to not just stop the arbitrary deprivation of life but also break the tenets of Islamic law.

Ever since President Yameen reintroduced the death penalty in Maldives, execution facilities have been constructed at the Maldives’ Maafushi Prison.

The age of criminal responsibility is 10 in the Maldives which means that even juvelines could potentially face execution. (ANI) – The Siasat Daily, 10/7/2016

Indonesia:Ramadan over and executions imminent?

The fasting month of Ramadan is over, and we recall “The Attorney-General’s Office has also announced that the next round of executions will take place following the the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which will be observed throughout June to early July.”.

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