Commute sentence of Altantuya’s convicted murderer
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) prays that the sentence of death on Azilah Hadri, who was convicted for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, be commuted.
It was recently reported that former special action force officer Azilah has filed a petition to the Selangor sultan, being the ruler of the state of Selangor, seeking a royal pardon over his conviction for the murder of the Mongolian translator (The Star, Jan 15, 2016). In Malaysia, conviction for murder carries the mandatory death penalty.
Article 42(1) of the Malaysian federal constitution provides that: ‘The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all offences which have been tried by court-martial and all offences committed in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya; and the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all other offences committed in his State.
In a reply to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament M Kulasegaran (DAP – Ipoh Barat), dated Nov 3, 2015, it was disclosed that since 1998 until Oct 6, 2015, 127 death row prisoners have had their sentence commuted. As of Oct 6, 2015, there still remain about 1,022 persons on death row.
In Thailand, Royal Pardons have resulted in about 90 percent or more persons sentenced to death having their sentence commuted to imprisonment.
On 18/12/2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a Resolution to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. This is the fifth time this resolution has been tabled since the first in 2007. One hundred and seventeen member states voted in favour of the 2014 resolution, indicating the continuing growing global support for the abolition of the death penalty.
As such, taking also into consideration the various arguments for the abolition of the death penalty including that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable, Madpet urges the HRH the sultan of Selangor to exercise his power to commute the death sentence faced by Azilah Hadri into one of imprisonment.
Madpet reiterates its urging that Malaysia abolish the death penalty.
Madpet also urges a moratorium on all executions pending abolition.
CHARLES HECTOR is a coordinator of Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet).