Malaysia -DECLARATION ON MALAYSIA by participants of the 7TH World Congress Against the Death Penalty




7TH World Congress Against the Death Penalty

Brussels, 1st March 2019


The participants in the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, which took place in Brussels from February 26 to March 1st, 2019, hereby:

Welcome the decisions made by the Government of Malaysia to establish a moratorium on executions on 2 July 2018 and announce the revision of the country’s laws to fully abolish the death penalty on 10 October, the World Day Against the Death Penalty;

Positively note the support by Malaysia for the seventh UN General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty adopted on 17 December;

Express full support for the courage and commitment shown by the government to secure full abolition in national legislation at the next session of the Malaysian Parliament, beginning on 11 March

Look forward to Malaysia becoming an abolitionist state, joining the majority of UN member states by mid- 2019.
Adopted by Acclamation in Brussels on 1st March 2019
At the World Congress, it was also revealed that in France, it was the government that abolished the death penalty irrespective of the fact that the majority were for the death penalty. Yes, in many cases governments will change norms for the better..that are more just…it all depends on the strength and courage of the government of the day to bring about changes…


World Congress supports Malaysian govt’s courage to abolish death penalty

by rashvinjeet s. bedi

BRUSSELS: A special resolution on Malaysia’s decision to do away with the death penalty was adopted at the World Congress on capital punishment.

The resolution welcomed the government’s decision to establish a moratorium and to do away with the death penalty.
“We express full support for the courage and commitment shown by the government to secure full abolition in national legislation at the next session of the Malaysian parliament.

“We look forward to Malaysia becoming an abolitionist state, joining the majority of UN member states by mid 2019,” said the resolution which was read out at the closing of the congress on Friday (March 1).

The ceremony was attended by several European politicians including Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders.

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) coordinator Charles Hector, who was among a number of Malaysians who attended the Congress, said that the abolishment of capital punishment has been dependent on the strong political will of the government of the day.

“It is a very proud moment to be a Malaysian when we see the world congratulating the government’s brave decision to abolish the death penalty and join the civilised world,” he said.

Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto, who also attended the congress, said the government must commit itself to fighting crime instead of ending lives and to uplift the socio-economic status of Malaysians as more than 80% of those on death row fall in the B40 category.

Hundreds of people later marched in the Belgian capital city to call for the end of capital punishment around the world.

As of 2018, 146 countries have abolished the death penalty either in law or practice.

One of those who marched was ex-death row inmate Ndume Olatushani who spent 28 years in prison before being exonerated from a crime he didn’t commit.

“As an innocent man, having spent 28 years of which 20 was on death row, I know that the system can get it wrong,” said the American.

Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) director Raphael Chenuil-Hazan said there was a long way to go for the abolitionist movement.

“There are so many lawyers and activist from different countries in the world who risk their lives to go against the death penalty,” he said.

In October last year, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the Cabinet would abolish the death penalty, with a moratorium for those on death row.

As of Oct 2018, there were 1,279 people on death row, the majority of them who are there for drug trafficking offences.

Recently, Liew said a final decision would be made during one of the Cabinet’s weekly meetings in March on whether to table a proposal in Parliament. – Star, 2/3/2018

India – After more than a decade on death row, Supreme Court finds six nomadic tribe members innocent

A decade after condemning to death six nomadic tribe members for murder and rape, SC finds them innocent

A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Holds case foisted on the men. Directs Maharashtra Chief Secretary to take action against the probe officers

Ten years after after condemning to death six nomadic tribe members in a rape and murder case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday found them innocent and ordered the Maharshtra Police to hunt down the real criminals.

In a complete volte-face, the apex court ordered the immediate release of Ankush Maruti Shinde, Rajya Appa Shinde, Ambadas Laxman Shinde, Raju Mhasu Shinde, Bapu Appa Sinde and Surya alias Suresh for the murder of five members of a family, rape of a woman and her 15-year-old daughter and dacoity in Nashik.

They had spent over 16 years in jail in anticipation of death. The court said the six men were falsely implicated and roped in by the police. One of the six was a juvenile at the time of his arrest. Some of them have developed psychiatric symptoms due to the long years in solitary confinement. They had not been eligible for pardon or furlough as they were condemned men.

The apex court Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri, S. Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah specifically takes the case of Ankush Maruti Shinde, who was subsequently found to be a juvenile.

“Dr. Ashit Sheth, Shinde’s psychiatrist, clearly opined that he lived under sub-human conditions for several years. He was kept in isolation in solitary confinement with very restricted human contact and under perpetual fear of death. He was only allowed to meet his mother, and that too only infrequently. He was not even allowed to mix with other prisoners. Therefore, all the accused remained under constant stress and in the perpetual fear of death,” Justice Shah described.

The court ordered the Maharashtra government to pay each of the six men a compensation of ₹5 lakh.

The court turned its ire on the State Police force for trauma it unleashed on the men, who belonged to both socially and financially backward communities. The court highlighted how the police did not bother to even investigate the fact that an eye-witnesses had, immediately after the crime was committed, identified four other men from the rogues’ gallery as the perpetrators of the crime. There has been no effort from the side of the police made to find these four men. The court ordered the Maharashtra Chief Secretary to take disciplinary action against the probe officers within three months.

The acquittal of the six men is, however, a U-turn for the Supreme Court too. In 2009, the court had dismissed their appeals and found them all guilty enough to be sent to the gallows.

However, luck changed for the six men when they filed their review petitions against the 2009 judgment. In October 2018, the court decided to recall its 2009 verdict and hear their appeals afresh. This change of mind by the court has now finally proved their innocence. – The Hindu, 5/3/2019

SC Finally Corrects The Error: Acquits Six Persons Sentenced To Death By A 2009 Judgment

[Read Judgment] By: LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK 5 March 2019 3:51 PM
The Supreme Court on Monday acquitted three persons who were sentenced to death by it in 2009, and also three others whose death penalty was confirmed by it.
The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah, also ordered the State of Maharashtra to pay Rupees 5 Lakh as damages to each of them.
Ankush Maruti Shinde, Rajya Appa Shinde, Ambadas Laxman Shinde, Raju Mhasu Shinde, Bapu Appa Shinde and Surya alias Suresh were accused of committing five murders and raping a lady (who survived) and a child of 15 years of age (who died).
The Trial Court convicted all of them and sentenced them to death.
In the appeals filed by them, the Bombay High Court set aside death penalty awarded to three of them and instead sentenced them to life imprisonment. While for the remaining three, the death sentence was confirmed.
The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Mukundakam Sharma, in 2009, not only dismissed the appeals filed by the three whose death sentence was confirmed by the High court, but also allowed State’s appeal and sentenced the other three to death sentence.
The Supreme Court had found the crime to be cruel and diabolic. It had observed that the collective conscience of the community was shocked; the victims were of a tender age and defenseless; the victims had no animosity towards the accused and the attack against them was unprovoked. Considering these factors,it had awarded the death penalty to all the accused .
In 2010, review petitions filed by three accused were dismissed by the Supreme Court.
In February 2014, a bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifulla admitted the review petitions filed by the other three death convicts, accepting the arguments of Senior Advocate Soli Sorabjee that it was decided relying on a wrong precedent- Ravji alias Ram Chandra v. State of Rajasthan [(1996) 2 SCC 175]. It was argued that Ravji’s case and the six subsequent cases in which Ravji was followed were decided per incuriam, as the law laid down therein is contrary to the law laid by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Bachan Singh.
In 2016, the three accused, whose review petitions were dismissed in 2009, filed applications for reopening the review petitions, in the light of constitution bench judgment in Mohd. Arif v Registrar, Supreme Court of India.
In October 2018, considering the review petitions and the applications, a three Judge Bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph had recalled the 2009 Judgment and the Appeals were restored.

Back to life: on the belated acquittal of death row convicts

Belated acquittal of death row convicts highlights the need to junk the death penalty

It is a tale of Kafkaesque horror. Six members of a nomadic tribe spent 16 years in prison in Maharashtra; three of them were on death row for 13 of these years, while the other three faced the gallows for nearly a decade. One of them was a juvenile at the time of the offence. And all this for a crime they did not commit. The only silver lining for the six convicts is that even though 10 years had elapsed since the Supreme Court imposed the death penalty on them, the sentence was not carried out. Hearing on their review petitions became an occasion for another Bench of the Supreme Court to revisit the 2009 verdict. A three-judge Bench has now found that unreliable testimony had been used to convict the six men. One of the two eyewitnesses had identified four others from police files as members of the gang that had raided their hut in 2003, but these four were not apprehended. The gang had stolen ₹3,000 and some ornaments, killed five members of the family, including a 15-year-old girl, who was also raped. It is possible that the heinous nature of the crime had influenced the outcome of the case. The belief that condign punishment is necessary for rendering complete justice could be behind courts brushing aside discrepancies or improvements in the evidence provided by witnesses. On a fresh hearing of the appeals, the court has concluded that the accused, who were roped in as accused in this case after being found to be involved in an unrelated crime elsewhere, were innocent.

The case, in itself, holds a strong argument against the retention of the death penalty on the statute book. Had the sentence against these six been carried out, the truth would have been buried with them. In recent years, the Supreme Court has been limiting the scope for resorting to the death penalty by a series of judgments that recognise the rights of death row convicts. A few years ago it ruled that review petitions in cases of death sentence should be heard in open court. In a country notorious for “the law’s delay”, it is inevitable that the long wait on death row, either for a review hearing or for the disposal of a mercy petition, could ultimately redound to the benefit of the convicts and their death sentences altered to life terms. In a system that many say favours the affluent and the influential, the likelihood of institutional bias against the socially and economically weak is quite high. Also, there is a perception that the way the “rarest of rare cases” norm is applied by various courts is arbitrary and inconsistent. The clamour for justice often becomes a call for the maximum sentence. In that sense, every death sentence throws up a moral dilemma on whether the truth has been sufficiently established. The only way out of this is the abolition of the death penalty altogether. – The Hindu, Editorial, 7/3/2019

ADPAN elected into Steering Committee (2019-2021) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty had its Annual General Meeting in Brussels at 2pm on 26/2/2019, whereby election for the Steering Committee(2019-2021) was conducted. 25 candidates contested for the 20 Steering Committee positions. ADPAN and 2 members being TAEDP and Reprieve Australia were successful.

The 20 organisations elected are:-
Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)
Barreau de Paris (ODA)
CMCPM (Moroccan Coalition against Death Penalty)
CTCPM (Tunisian Coalition against Death Penalty)
Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas de Porto Rico (CAAPR)
Comunità di Sant’Egidio
Culture pour la Paix et la Justice (CPJ)
ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty)
FIACAT (International Federation of ACATs – Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)
FIDH (Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme)
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)
Iran Human Rights (IHR)
Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing
Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA)
Reprieve Australia
SYNAFEN (Syndicat National des Agents de la Formation et de l’Education du Niger)
Taïwan Aliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP)
The Advocates for Human Rights (TAHR)
The Death Penalty Project (DPP)
Witness to Innocence (WTI)