MALAYSIA – Abolition Will Facilitate Identifying other perpetrators and bringing them to justice

MADPET Media Statement was reported by FMT, Star, MSN and Star…and hopefully other media will also carry the statement…MADPET is a member of ADPAN

Media Statement – 14/2/2019

Delay in abolition of Death Penalty delays the bringing to justice all those involved in murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu

Table Bills To Abolish Death Penalty in Parliament Session Starting 11th March

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is saddened by the delay in the abolition of the death penalty, which would also most likely delay justice in the case of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian mother of two. She was murdered and her body was blown up in a forest with explosives in 2006.

Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, who were then serving as Najib’s personal security detail at the time of the murder, were arrested and convicted for the murder by the High Court. In 2013, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions and both were released. Thereafter, the Federal Court in January 2015, allowed the appeal by the prosecution, and the murder conviction and death sentence was restored. Murder carries the mandatory death penalty.

A co-accused, former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a confidant of then deputy prime minister Najib Razak, was acquitted in 2008 without his defence being called to the charge of abetting Azilah and Sirul. The prosecution did not appeal the acquittal.

Najib, at the time of the murder was the Deputy Prime Minister, and in March 2009 he became the Prime Minister until the last General Election in May 2018, that saw the defeat of the UMNO-Barisan National, and formation of a new alternative Pakatan Harapan government.

Sirul Azhar, after his release by the Court of Appeal left for Australia, and he did not turn up for the Federal Court hearing, that again sentenced him to death. Since 2015, he has been detained at the Immigration and Border Protection Department’s facility in Sydney.

In 2015, Sirul was reported saying, ‘”I was under orders. The important people with motive (to commit murder) are still free,” Sirul Azhar Umar said in a phone interview published on Wednesday by Malaysian news website Malaysiakini.’(Straits Times, 18/2/2015).

This raised serious doubts that the person/s who ordered the killing of Altantuya or paid for it may still be at large. Australia, which is an abolitionist state, would not send Sirul back to Malaysia, knowing that he may be hanged if he is send back to Malaysia.

It is now good that the current Malaysian cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that will abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row to be commuted. This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen.

In the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for the moratorium of executions pending the abolition of the death penalty, Malaysia, consistent with the new government’s declared position for the very first time voted in favour of the resolution.

The Altantuya case has also made us aware that there may be many others who have ordered or paid for some other to commit murder may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved. All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence.

In any criminal trial, it is of no use for a person who was involved in the commission of the crime to confess or plead guilty. Most will exercise their right to silence until all appeals are exhausted. These persons may also be subject to threats against themselves and their family members by them that ordered or paid them to kill. Those that admit they killed because they were paid to kill is still guilty of murder – so there is little reason to speak up and identify other accomplices who yet to be identified and/or prosecuted

When the death penalty is abolished, and better still any mandatory life prison sentence, the courts will then have the ability to impose a lower prison term for any or all who cooperated in making sure all others involved are also identified and prosecuted. This would be another mitigating factor that the courts can consider, but always ensuring that a just sentence is imposed.

The abolition of the death penalty is needed to prevent the ‘innocent’ from being wrongly killed, as there is always the risk of miscarriage of justice, which could be due to lawyers, prosecutors, police, judges, court procedures and many other factors.

It has been shown in Malaysia, that the death penalty, even if mandatory, does not deter crime.

Further, it is against religious values, even Islam, as death Malaysia is not provided for in Islamic Laws but civil laws, and the trial does not comply with Islamic evidential and procedural requirements. Note, that in Islam, even for murder, execution is a possibility as there is ‘diyat’(diya), where compensation and forgiveness from victim’s family can save a murderer from death – this highlights that repentance and/or forgiveness from victims is important, not simply punishment if you do a crime.

In Malaysia, for a long time, the lack of political will and strength on the part of government, despite the global trend towards abolition may have kept the death penalty in our law books. The fear of government to do the right and just thing simply because of a fear of a possible loss of political support is pathetic. Hopefully, this new Pakatan Harapan, unlike its predecessor, will not weaken and backtrack on its decision to abolish the death penalty.

Many expected that the relevant Bills leading to the abolition of the death penalty would have been tabled at the last Parliamentary session in 2018, and the hope now is that it will be tabled in the upcoming Parliamentary session starting on 11 March 2019.

It is sad that some have been calling for the retention of the death penalty, which may simply be those who are unaware of the just reasons for abolition. They may simply be opposing because this was the decision of the current government, and as such be merely a political strategy rather than one based on justice or values. They may also be people who fail to also appreciate the sufferings of the children and families, simply because a parent or sibling is executed. They fail to appreciate that even the mandatory death penalty has failed to reduce murder or drug trafficking in Malaysia.

Therefore, MADPET

  • Call of Malaysia to ensure that all those, if any, who ordered or paid for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu are identified and prosecuted. The abolition of the death penalty will also make it less likely for accomplices including those who ordered or paid others to do the crime to escape justice, as the those caught and/or convicted will more likely help make this happen, if their assistance can affect/reduce sentences;
  • Calls for the Malaysian Government to immediately, preferably during this upcoming Parliamentary session beginning in March 2019, to bravely table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the Death Penalty; and
  • Calls for the Malaysian government to immediately commute the death sentences of all those on death row, which was about 1,267 in July 2018.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET

Group says death penalty in the way of seeking truth behind Altantuya’s murder

FMT Reporters

February 14, 2019 11:35 AM

288 Shares

Former policeman Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two men sentenced to death for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

PETALING JAYA: A group campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty says doing away with the punishment would help bring to justice those responsible in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) was referring to Australia’s refusal to release Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two men sentenced to death for the murder of the Mongolian citizen in 2006.

Sirul has since sought refuge in an immigration centre in Sydney, with Canberra saying it is not allowed by Australian laws to deport him due to the death sentence awaiting him in Malaysia.

Australian laws prohibit the extradition of anyone to face the death penalty in his home country.

Madpet said cancelling Sirul’s death sentence would allow him to be returned to Malaysian authorities to assist investigators in shedding light on the brutal murder of Altantuya.

“The abolition of the death penalty will make those who ordered or paid others to do the crime be identified, as those caught or convicted will more likely help make this happen if their assistance can reduce the sentences imposed,” Madpet spokesman Charles Hector said in a statement today.

He also questioned the delay in amending the laws to do away with the death sentence despite Putrajaya’s promise.

Madpet said supporters of the death penalty appeared unaware of the “just reasons” for its abolition, or could be furthering a political strategy.

“They may also be people who fail to appreciate the suffering of the children and families, simply because a parent or sibling is executed.

“They fail to appreciate that even the mandatory death penalty has failed to reduce murder or drug trafficking in Malaysia,” Hector said. – FMT, 14/2/2019

Delay in abolishing death penalty is justice delayed for Altantuya’s family, says group
Nation,Thursday, 14 Feb 2019 1:05 PM MYT
by rashvinjeet s. bedi

PETALING JAYA: The hold-up in abolishing the mandatory death sentence is delaying justice in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, says a group campaigning against the death penalty.

Madpet (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) said that abolishing the death penalty would enable Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two people convicted for Altantuya’s murder, to be brought back home from Australia.

“It is now good that the current Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that would abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row being commuted.

“This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen,” said Madpet founder Charles Hector in a statement Thursday (Feb 14).

Australia takes into account whether or not the death penalty would be applied in that country in extradition cases.

Hector said the Altantuya case has also made Malaysians aware that there may be many others who ordered or paid for some other to commit murder who may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved.

“All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence,” he said.

He also called for the government to immediately table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the death penalty during in upcoming Parliamentary sitting beginning in March.

Last October, 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.

However, there have been protests from some quarters, including law enforcement officials and the families of some murder victims.

Earlier Thursday, Liew said the Cabinet would make the final decision on whether to bring the legislative amendments to Parliament in March.

In 2009, Sirul and Azilah Hadri were convicted of Altantuya’s murder and sentenced to death.

The Court of Appeal overturned their death sentences in 2013, but this was reinstated by the Federal Court after the prosecution filed an appeal.

However, Sirul fled to Australia and was detained by Immigration officials in Sydney after Interpol issued a Red Notice for him.

He has been held at the Villawood detention camp in Sydney since 2015. – Star, 14/2/2019

Delay in abolishing death penalty is justice delayed for Altantuya’s family, says group

RASHVINJEET S. BEDI

© Provided by Star Media Group Berhad

 

PETALING JAYA: The hold-up in abolishing the mandatory death sentence is delaying justice in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, says a group campaigning against the death penalty.

Madpet (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) said that abolishing the death penalty would enable Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two people convicted for Altantuya’s murder, to be brought back home from Australia.

“It is now good that the current Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that would abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row being commuted.

“This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen,” said Madpet founder

Charles Hector in a statement Thursday (Feb 14).

Australia takes into account whether or not the death penalty would be applied in that country in extradition cases.

Hector said the Altantuya case has also made Malaysians aware that there may be many others who ordered or paid for some other to commit murder who may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved.

“All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence,” he said.

He also called for the government to immediately table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the death penalty during in upcoming Parliamentary sitting beginning in March.

Last October, 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.

However, there have been protests from some quarters, including law enforcement officials and the families of some murder victims.

Earlier Thursday, Liew said the Cabinet would make the final decision on whether to bring the legislative amendments to Parliament in March.

In 2009, Sirul and Azilah Hadri were convicted of Altantuya’s murder and sentenced to death.

The Court of Appeal overturned their death sentences in 2013, but this was reinstated by the Federal Court after the prosecution filed an appeal.

However, Sirul fled to Australia and was detained by Immigration officials in Sydney after Interpol issued a Red Notice for him.

He has been held at the Villawood detention camp in Sydney since 2015.- MSN, 15/2/2019

Delay in abolition of Death Penalty delays the bringing to justice all those involved in murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu

LETTERS/SURAT

By admin-s On Feb 14, 2019

35 Shares

 

This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen.
Charles Hector, MADPET

Table Bills To Abolish Death Penalty in Parliament Session Starting 11th March

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is saddened by the delay in the abolition of the death penalty, which would also most likely delay justice in the case of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian mother of two. She was murdered and her body was blown up in a forest with explosives in 2006.

Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, who were then serving as Najib’s personal security detail at the time of the murder, were arrested and convicted for the murder by the High Court. In 2013, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions and both were released. Thereafter, the Federal Court in January 2015, allowed the appeal by the prosecution, and the murder conviction and death sentence was restored. Murder carries the mandatory death penalty.

A co-accused, former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a confidant of then deputy prime minister Najib Razak, was acquitted in 2008 without his defence being called to the charge of abetting Azilah and Sirul.  The prosecution did not appeal the acquittal.

Najib, at the time of the murder was the Deputy Prime Minister, and in March 2009 he became the Prime Minister until the last General Election in May 2018, that saw the defeat of the UMNO-Barisan National, and formation of a new alternative Pakatan Harapan government.

Sirul Azhar, after his release by the Court of Appeal left for Australia, and he did not turn up for the Federal Court hearing, that again sentenced him to death. Since 2015, he has been detained at the Immigration and Border Protection Department’s facility in Sydney.

In 2015, Sirul was reported saying, ‘”I was under orders. The important people with motive (to commit murder) are still free,” Sirul Azhar Umar said in a phone interview published on Wednesday by Malaysian news website Malaysiakini.’(Straits Times, 18/2/2015).

This raised serious doubts that the person/s who ordered the killing of Altantuya or paid for it may still be at large. Australia, which is an abolitionist state, would not send Sirul back to Malaysia, knowing that he may be hanged if he is send back to Malaysia.

It is now good that the current Malaysian cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that will abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row to be commuted. This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen.

In the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for the moratorium of executions pending the abolition of the death penalty, Malaysia, consistent with the new government’s declared position for the very first time voted in favour of the resolution.

The Altantuya case has also made us aware that there may be many others who have ordered or paid for some other to commit murder may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved. All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence.

In any criminal trial, it is of no use for a person who was involved in the commission of the crime to confess or plead guilty. Most will exercise their right to silence until all appeals are exhausted. These persons may also be subject to threats against themselves and their family members by them that ordered or paid them to kill. Those that admit they killed because they were paid to kill is still guilty of murder – so there is little reason to speak up and identify other accomplices who yet to be identified and/or prosecuted

When the death penalty is abolished, and better still any mandatory life prison sentence, the courts will then have the ability to impose a lower prison term for any or all who cooperated in making sure all others involved are also identified and prosecuted. This would be another mitigating factor that the courts can consider, but always ensuring that a just sentence is imposed.

The abolition of the death penalty is needed to prevent the ‘innocent’ from being wrongly killed, as there is always the risk of miscarriage of justice, which could be due to lawyers, prosecutors, police, judges, court procedures and many other factors.

It has been shown in Malaysia, that the death penalty, even if mandatory, does not deter crime.

Further, it is against religious values, even Islam, as death Malaysia is not provided for in Islamic Laws but civil laws, and the trial does not comply with Islamic evidential and procedural requirements. Note, that in Islam, even for murder, execution is a possibility as there is ‘diyat’(diya), where compensation and forgiveness from victim’s family can save a murderer from death – this highlights that repentance and/or forgiveness from victims is important, not simply punishment if you do a crime.

In Malaysia, for a long time, the lack of political will and strength on the part of government, despite the global trend towards abolition may have kept the death penalty in our law books. The fear of government to do the right and just thing simply because of a fear of a possible loss of political support is pathetic. Hopefully, this new Pakatan Harapan, unlike its predecessor, will not weaken and backtrack on its decision to abolish the death penalty.

Many expected that the relevant Bills leading to the abolition of the death penalty would have been tabled at the last Parliamentary session in 2018, and the hope now is that it will be tabled in the upcoming Parliamentary session starting on 11 March 2019.

It is sad that some have been calling for the retention of the death penalty, which may simply be those who are unaware of the just reasons for abolition. They may simply be opposing because this was the decision of the current government, and as such be merely a political strategy rather than one based on justice or values. They may also be people who fail to also appreciate the sufferings of the children and families, simply because a parent or sibling is executed. They fail to appreciate that even the mandatory death penalty has failed to reduce murder or drug trafficking in Malaysia.

Therefore, MADPET

–          Call of Malaysia to ensure that all those, if any, who ordered or paid for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu are identified and prosecuted. The abolition of the death penalty will also make it less likely for accomplices including those who ordered or paid others to do the crime to escape justice, as the those caught and/or convicted will more likely help make this happen, if their assistance can affect/reduce sentences;

–          Calls for the Malaysian Government to immediately, preferably during this upcoming Parliamentary session beginning in March 2019, to bravely table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the Death Penalty; and

–          Calls for the Malaysian government to immediately commute the death sentences of all those on death row, which was about 1,267 in July 2018.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET

Malaysia Today, 14/2/2019

Thailand – Activist call for abolition of DP – starting with ban on death sentences for female convicts

Rights activists push for ban on death sentences for female convicts

national January 16, 2019 01:00

By Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation

HUMAN RIGHTS defenders are calling for an end to capital punishment for women as a next step forward to achieving the universal abolition of death sentences in Thailand.

A public forum hosted by the Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) on Monday discussed a proposal to ban the death sentence for female inmates in Thailand, and concluded that executing women is not only ineffective in suppressing crimes but also contributes to additional social problems.

Assoc Professor Gothom Arya, director of Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, has pushed for the abolishment of capital punishment for all convicts, but acknowledged strong public opinion in favour of retaining the sentence.

A gradual step-by-step approach to abolition would better suit the country, Gothom suggested, adding that it is more practical than going against majority public opinion and abolishing it in one move.

Thailand has already abolished death sentence for pregnant women and youth, so it appears the next step would be to officially end the execution of female convicts,” he said.

“We need a new round of legislative reforms that abolishes the execution of women, just like our current law prohibits the execution of pregnant women and youth.

In addition to an active campaign for legislative reform, he emphasised that human-rights defenders must work on raising public awareness so society can understand the flaws of capital punishment.

Though the execution of women is not common in Thailand – with only three female convicts executed since 1932, with the last being put to death 19 years ago – it is believed neither male nor female convicts are safe from capital punishment under the current political climate.

Last year Thailand was on the verge of being recognised for not carrying out a death sentence for 10 consecutive years. Despite capital punishment still being meted out by judges, no convict had been put to death in Thailand since 2009. However, this record was broken when the authorities executed a 26-year-old male convict on June 18, 2018.

Most countries have stopped carrying out the death sentence. The UCL has been campaigning against capital punishment, as this unacceptable practice is in direct conflict with the basic principles of human rights. The group said Thailand will ultimately find it impossible to go against the global trend.

Also, the UCL noted that putting female convicts to death has proved to be ineffective in maintaining justice in society and has  led to tougher social problems.

Angkhana Neelapaijit, a National Human Rights Commissioner (NHRC), noted that studies on the statistics and backgrounds of female prisoners in Thailand have found that most were sentenced for crimes related to domestic violence and narcotics.

“These crimes were not caused by personal wickedness. Instead, these women were forced by the circumstances, their environment and problems in our social structure to commit these crimes. So killing these women will not solve the problem,” she said.

Hence, she said, the authorities should change their attitude toward the corrections system and prioritise treatment for the wrongdoers and turn them into good citizens, instead of punishing them severely for their crimes.

Human-rights lawyer Natthasiri Bergman emphasised that many women behind bars were breadwinners and mothers, so locking them away or putting them to death greatly affects their families.

Natthasiri also cautioned that keeping these women away from their children forces the young ones to grow without maternal care.

“The impact from the absence of a mother is significant, and can contribute to more crimes, violence and other social problems in the future,” she added. – The Nation, 16/1/2018

 

Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) is a member of ADPAN