Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network

ADPAN mentioned in mainstream media

‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 04 Nov 2018

THIRTY-five people were hung to death in Malaysia for the crimes they committed over the past decade.

These numbers, as recorded by the Prisons Department, will end here.

With the Government determined to remove the death penalty, some hailed it as the more humane approach – upholding the right to life.

Others, however, feel the hangman’s noose is still needed to answer to the heinous crimes man is capable of.

Murder, rape resulting in death, drug trafficking and committing terrorism are examples of offences punishable by death.

With a moratorium imposed on the penalty, 1,281 death row inmates are spared.

But abolishing the death sentence doesn’t mean zero punishment, says Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (Adpan) executive committee member Ngeow Chow Ying.

“It is just not an appropriate sentence.

“The alternative is imprisonment and it has to be culpable to the crime,” she tells Sunday Star.

Last month, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said those on death row will have their sentence commuted to imprisonment for life or life imprisonment.

Imprisonment for life means convicts will spend the rest of their lives in prison without any release date.

Life imprisonment requires them to be jailed for a minimum of 30 years.

Looking forward, Ngeow says the concern is to look into prison reform, jail sentences for serious crimes and what can be done to rehabilitate prisoners.

“After the death penalty is abolished, these are the issues that should be looked into.

“About 55,000 people are in prison now. But the criminal justice system isn’t supposed to lock them up and forget about it.

“Its purpose is to rehabilitate them and see if they can be reintegrated into society,” says Ngeow.

But she acknowledges the feelings of some victims and their families, who may want the death penalty as the means for justice to be served.

“If they feel the death penalty is the only way to cure their pain, we have to respect that.

“But for us, we believe that you can’t send a message that murder is wrong by killing another person,” says Ngeow, from Adpan which consists 80 organisations across 22 countries.

In Western countries, she observes that some families believe that their suffering cannot be compensated by the death penalty.

“Some just want answers to what happened,” she adds.

Calling it cruel and inhumane, senior criminal lawyer Datuk V. Sithambaram says the death penalty belongs in the past.

“In the old days, justice was always an eye for an eye.

“But as Mahatma Gandhi would say, this will only make everyone blind.

“We need to move on to a more humane form of justice. Studies show that the death penalty hasn’t been proven to deter crimes,” he says.

Drawing from experience, he says many accused persons claim they would rather die than to be imprisoned for life. – Star,

“They don’t want to languish in jail. They would rather accept death.

“So, to me, the minimum 30-year jail term or being jailed for life is more of a deterrent than death,” Sithambaram says.

He says other forms of punishment can be included in the sentence, such as community service.

“The Pardons Board should review cases to see if the convict is able to change.

“Many can make themselves better and useful through rehabilitation.

“We all regret the wrong things we have done. Those who genuinely repent should be given a second chance,” he says.

Human rights lawyer Andrew Khoo says community work should be made possible as part of the replacement sentence.

For the 1,281 people on death row, he suggests that there should be a provision for the High Court to review the sentences imposed.

“There should not be a simplistic replacement of, say 30 years.

“Each case must be considered based on its own facts and situation,” he says.Khoo stresses that the whipping should not be part of the replacement punishment.

“Corporal punishment is against the United Nations Convention Against Torture.Malaysia has said we will also accede to that. So we should not violate that as well,” he says.

On the death penalty giving victims and their families a sense of retribution, Khoo says the state should not be involved in the business of revenge.

“Justice needs to be dispassionate. It should not be influenced by emotion.

“When we allow our feelings to influence our sense of justice, there is a risk we will arrive at an unjust outcome,” he adds.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman says the government’s decision on the death penalty was made after taking all views into account.

“As part of the ministry that will implement the policy, we support the Cabinet’s decision.

“Let the Cabinet decide on the finer details, such as the replacement sentences and the possibility of incorporating community service, later,” he says.

Pemerintah Didesak Buat Kebijakan untuk Hapus Hukuman Mati

Ramadhan Rizki, CNN Indonesia | Kamis, 10/05/2018 04:26 WIB
Pemerintah Didesak Buat Kebijakan untuk Hapus Hukuman MatiWakil Koordinator Bidang Advokasi KontraS, Putri Kanesia. (CNN Indonesia/Bimo Wiwoho)
Jakarta, CNN Indonesia — Komisi untuk Orang hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan (KontraS) mendesak pemerintah mengeluarkan kebijakan penghapusan hukuman mati di Indonesia.

Hal itu merupakan salah satu rekomendasi dari Konferensi Nasional 20 Tahun Reformasi: Kejahatan dan Penghukuman di Indonesia yang telah dihelat di Jakarta.

“Pemerintah harus melakukan moratorium hukuman mati sebagai praktik penghukuman kejahatan sebelum menuju kepada penghapusan secara menyeluruh hukuman mati,” kata Wakil Koordinator Bidang Advokasi KontraS, Putri Kanesia di kantor KontraS, Jakarta Pusat, Rabu (9/5).

Putri menilai bahwa proses penghentian hukuman mati di Indonesia harus segera dilaksanakan karena tidak tepat dan bertentangan dengan perundang-undangan yang berlaku.

Ia merinci bahwa hukuman mati bertentangan dengan pasal 281 UUD 1945. Selain itu, hukuman mati juga bertentangan dengan sejumlah peraturan diantaranya Undang-Undang Nomor 39 Tahun 1999 Tentang Hak Asasi Manusia dan Undang-Undang 12 Tahun 2005 Tentang Pengesahan Intemational tentang hak Sipil dan Politik.

“Memang hukuman mati masih sangat pelik dan kerap jadi perdebatan yang menimbulkan pro dan kontra di ranah nasional dan jadi preseden di dunia internasional,” kata dia.

Selain itu, Putri mengatakan bahwa kasus-kasus hukuman mati di Indonesia telah terbukti adanya pelanggaran prosedur hukum dan dugaan unfair trial turut oleh mayoritas terpidana mati.

Ia mencontohkan kasus seperti tak disediakannya penasehat hukum oleh pemerintah untuk membela hak terpidana mati. Selain itu, terdapat kasus praktik penyiksaan terhadap terpidana mati, praktik manipulasi usia dan adanya rekayasa kasus yang menyangkut diskriminasi ras.

“Temuan fakta itu tak pernah dijadikan pertimbangan bagi pemerintah untuk melakukan evaluasi menyeluruh terhadap tuntutan maupun vonis hukuman mati,” ucapnya.

Melihat hal itu, Putri lantas meminta Jokowi untuk melakukan pembenahan dan pengawasan serius terhadap sistem peradilan pidana di Indonesia.

Hal itu bertujuan agar sistem peradilan memenuhi standar peradilan yang adil, tidak memihak dan Imparsial serta mengacu kepada standar HAM internasional yang berlaku universal.

“Kami juga mendesak pemerintah menindak aktor-aktor penegak hukum yang terlibat dalam praktik peradilan yang korup, manipulatif atau sewenang-wenang terhadap kasus hukuman mati di Indonesia,” pintanya.

Tak hanya itu, Putri juga meminta Jokowi dapat memberikan akses bantuan hukum yang layak dan memadai bagi terpidana mati.

Hal itu bertujuan agar meminimalisir potensi terjadinya kembali pelanggaran prosedur hukum maupun dugaan ‘unfair trial’ terhadap narapidana hukuman mati.

“Pemerintah kota garap dapat menjalin kerja sama dan komunikasi dengan berbagai stakeholders seperti keduataan negara asing di indonesia, organisasi advokat mauoin kelonpok masyarakat sipil,” katanya.

Diketahui, penghapusan rekomendasi hukuman mati ini turut didukung oleh elemen masyarakat sipil lainnya seperti Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), Ensemble Contre La Peine De Mort (ECPM), Komnas HAM, Imparsial dan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Masyarakat. – CNN Indonesia, 10/5/2018

Taiwan – Criminals given death sentence in Taiwan will be executed: Premier Su

Criminals given death sentence in Taiwan will be executed: Premier Su

KMT lawmaker calls on government to proceed with executions, premier says law will be upheld

By Duncan DeAeth, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Premier Su Tseng-chang speaks at Legislative Yuan, Oct. 4

Premier Su Tseng-chang speaks at Legislative Yuan, Oct. 4 (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Friday (Oct. 4) expressed his support for upholding the law to carry out the death penalty for certain criminal offenses.

Speaking at a Legislative Yuan hearing, Su said that under the current law, it is the state’s responsibility to carry out the sentence if a criminal is given the death penalty. He was responding to opposition Kuomintang lawmaker Shen Chih-hwei (沈智慧)’s question as to whether the Tsai administration would hesitate to carry out capital punishment.

Taiwan last carried out a death sentence in August 2018, when Lee Hung-chi (李宏基) was executed for the murder of his wife and daughter. Lee’s death marked the end of a two-year moratorium on capital punishment in Taiwan and was the first death sentence carried out under the Tsai administration.

Since Su became premier in January 2019, there have been no executions carried out. There are currently 43 people on death row in the country, with the most recent being Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢), the arsonist responsible for the death of six people, including his parents, whose death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court on July 10.

Weng’s was the first death sentence in the country in two years. In response to Shen’s suggestion that Su was hesitant to carry out the death penalty, the premier emphasized that he has no desire to protect those who commit evil acts and that sentences handed down by the courts must be carried out in accordance with the law.

However, Su also made it clear that the authority to authorize capital punishment rests with the Minister of Justice. He clarified that as premier, he is not the one to order any executions.

CNA reports that the current Minister of Justice, Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥), has called for a “prudent approach” to the death penalty. Tsai believes that the government must uphold the law that currently exists but that the country should work towards abolishing the death penalty at some point in the future.

Shen criticized the positions of both the minister of justice and the premier, declaring that their statements are “vague and unclear.” She recognized that neither official has made a clear commitment to carrying out the law, which they claim should be upheld. – Taiwan News, 4/10/2019

Pakistan – Poor And Marginalised Suffer Disproportionately From Capital Punishment

Pakistan: Poor and marginalized suffer disproportionately from capital punishment

08/10/2019
Report
In a new report issued today, FIDH and its member organization, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), detail the systemic bias faced by the poor and marginalized with regards to the death penalty in Pakistan. The report, published ahead of the World Day Against the Death Penalty (10 October), urges the Pakistani government to reform the criminal justice system to eradicate the procedural and policy issues that are among the primary causes of high rates of capital convictions and executions for the most vulnerable members of society.

 

The report, titled “Punished for Being Vulnerable: How Pakistan executes the poorest and the most marginalized in society”, is based on an investigation the two organizations carried out in November 2018 to examine the issue of capital punishment in Pakistan. The investigation focused on fair trial rights for defendants accused of capital offenses, detention conditions on death row, the conviction and execution of juveniles, and the toll the use of the death penalty takes on convicts’ families. A disturbing theme emerged throughout the course of the investigation: lower economic classes and other vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by the deficiencies of Pakistan’s criminal justice system.

“It is highly concerning that those at the margins of Pakistani society are more likely to be convicted of capital offenses. While the death penalty violates the most fundamental human rights wherever it is used, in Pakistan its discriminatory application is particularly egregious” –Shawan Jabarin, FIDH Secretary General.

 

The way Pakistan’s criminal justice system currently operates – from police investigations, to prosecutions, to trials – results in the most vulnerable segments of society being much more likely to confess to crimes under duress, be prosecuted in unfair trials, and sentenced to death. They face an insurmountable systemic bias, which leaves them even more susceptible to violations of due process and at risk of being executed.

“There is an urgent need for the Pakistani government to address the numerous failures of the criminal justice system, not only to move Pakistan towards complete abolition of the death penalty but also to promote a system that respects fair trial rights for all.” –Dr Mehdi Hasan, HRCP chair

 

Capital punishment in Pakistan also entails significant and long-lasting harm for family members of those on death row, including socioeconomic impacts. Convicts tend to be their families’ breadwinners, and legal processes – which can last for years – can impose crippling costs. Furthermore, the ordeal can inflict psychosocial anguish. The wife of a death row prisoner expressed the effect of her husband’s imprisonment on her: “[My husband] has been in jail for 27 years. He is being punished inside the jail and I am being punished outside the jail.”

While executions in Pakistan have decreased in recent years, the country remains one of the world’s top executioners. Between the end of a moratorium on executions in December 2014 and August 2019, close to 1,800 death sentences were imposed across the nation’s court system and 520 people were executed. Thirty-two offenses remain punishable by death in Pakistan, including for many offenses that fail to meet the “most serious crimes” threshold under international law. – read more at FIDH website

Poverty is a capital offence

 

Access to justice is a fundamental right of all. But a recent report jointly authored by International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that in Pakistan, the poor are on the receiving end of the criminal justice system.

And therefore the poor are more likely to receive capital punishment – a grim reality, expected to come under sharper focus on the World Day Against the Death Penalty observed yesterday.

The report, which looks into the record of capital punishment in Pakistan, points out that “lower economic classes and other vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by deficiencies in Pakistan’s criminal justice system”.

The poor who face charge of capital crime, invariably face “insurmountable systemic bias, which leaves them even more susceptible to violations of due process at the risk of being executed”.

The obstacles they encounter on way to receiving a fair trial are: financial costs, socio-economic inequality, distant courts, lack of information and complexity and requirements of judicial process. Their predicament gets compounded when justice mechanism is corrupt, inefficient and out of reach. Also, the system of investigation as it exists today in Pakistan leaves the vulnerable segments of society with no other option but to confess, and get sentenced to death.

Do the poor of Pakistan have a chance to escape this misfortune’ Given robust commitment to human rights, it is possible and the most result-oriented action should be a big ‘No’ to execution. And if that’s not possible then ask for a moratorium on executions. Otherwise, the legal system as it prevails would keep Pakistan earning notoriety of being one of the world’s top executioners. Therefore, in the words of HRCP chairman Dr Mehdi Hasan, not only Pakistan should opt for abolition of the death penalty but also help promote a system that respects fair trial rights for all.

Given serious security challenges confronting Pakistan and the incurable socio-cultural tradition of exacting revenge the call to abolish capital punishment is likely to remain unheard. Until very recently we had military courts to deliver justice to terrorists, only because the normal legal system was incapable of generating required deterrence against terrorism.

Of course there is controversy among a section of people against these courts, but the reality cannot be denied that the system did succeed to a large extent in curbing the menace of terrorism. Perhaps, the full-doze of 30-year imprisonment as capital punishment, as proposed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, may obviate the need for execution of the convict.

But here we are talking about the ordinary poor who are not terrorists but face the fate of terrorists just because they are poor and an unprivileged segment of society.

To improve their access to justice, not only the legal tools, information and services need to be upgraded but it also requires a holistic approach based on human rights principles. No less important is the report’s argument that capital punishment in Pakistan also entails significant and long lasting harm for members of those on death row. In most of the cases, the convicts happen to be their families’ breadwinners and the long legal processes tend to impose crippling costs on their families.

What the FIDH-HRCP joint report brings to light is indeed a compelling cause for action. Unfortunately, the question whether or not this is doable has no easy answer.

For the poor and unprivileged to have access to fair trial and equal justice the entire system is required to be thoroughly overhauled. As of present, the entire legal system is almost irretrievably stuck in the hundred years old, worn out rut. The law as prevails, was enacted to protect the tree of state instead of worrying about its leaves.

Justice as a fundamental right remains an ever-receding mirage for the poor of Pakistan.

The report is indeed well intentioned, but it should have gone a step further by offering a kind of concrete action plan, particularly on issues like timelines of investigation and the court proceedings and largely prohibitive costs of legal services. – Business Reporter, 11/10/2019

 

Pakistan: Poor And Marginalised Suffer Disproportionately From Capital Punishment

Pakistan: Poor and marginalised suffer disproportionately from capital punishment

In a new report issued today, FIDH and its member organisation, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), detail the systemic bias faced by the poor and marginalised with regards to the death penalty in Pakistan

Lahore (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 7th Oct, 2019) In a new report issued today, FIDH and its member organisation, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), detail the systemic bias faced by the poor and marginalised with regards to the death penalty in Pakistan. The report, published ahead of the World Day Against the Death Penalty (10 October), urges the Pakistani government to reform the criminal justice system to eradicate the procedural and policy issues that are among the primary causes of high rates of capital convictions and executions for the most vulnerable members of society.

The report, titled “Punished for Being Vulnerable: How Pakistan executes the poorest and the most marginalised in society”, is based on an investigation the two organisations carried out in November 2018 to examine the issue of capital punishment in Pakistan. The investigation focused on fair trial rights for defendants accused of capital offences, detention conditions on death row, the conviction and execution of juveniles, and the toll the use of the death penalty takes on convicts’ families. A disturbing theme emerged throughout the course of the investigation: lower economic classes and other vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by the deficiencies of Pakistan’s criminal justice system.

“It is highly concerning that those at the margins of Pakistani society are more likely to be convicted of capital offences. While the death penalty violates the most fundamental human rights wherever it is used, in Pakistan its discriminatory application is particularly egregious,” said FIDH Secretary General Shawan Jabarin.

The way Pakistan’s criminal justice system currently operates – from police investigations, to prosecutions, to trials – results in the most vulnerable segments of society being much more likely to confess to crimes under duress, be prosecuted in unfair trials, and sentenced to death.

They face an insurmountable systemic bias, which leaves them even more susceptible to violations of due process and at risk of being executed.

“There is an urgent need for the Pakistani government to address the numerous failures of the criminal justice system, not only to move Pakistan towards complete abolition of the death penalty but also to promote a system that respects fair trial rights for all,” said HRCP Chair Dr Mehdi Hasan.

Capital punishment in Pakistan also entails significant and long-lasting harm for family members of those on death row, including socioeconomic impacts. Convicts tend to be their families’ breadwinners, and legal processes – which can last for years – can impose crippling costs. Furthermore, the ordeal can inflict psychosocial anguish. The wife of a death row prisoner expressed the effect of her husband’s imprisonment on her: “[My husband] has been in jail for 27 years. He is being punished inside the jail and I am being punished outside the jail.”

While executions in Pakistan have decreased in recent years, the country remains one of the world’s top executioners. Between the end of a moratorium on executions in December 2014 and August 2019, close to 1,800 death sentences were imposed across the nation’s court system and 520 people were executed. Thirty-two offences remain punishable by death in Pakistan, including for many offences that fail to meet the “most serious crimes” threshold under international law.

This report follows up on a previous joint FIDH-HRCP report, “Slow march to the gallows: Death penalty in Pakistan”, published in January 2007. – Urdu Point, 7/10/2019

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