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

dpworldcongress

 

DECLARATION ON MALAYSIA

7TH World Congress Against the Death Penalty

Brussels, 1st March 2019

We,

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

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

Malaysia and Pakistan supports 2018 UNGA Resolution on Moratorium on Executions pending Abolition of Death Penalty

Death penalty: Global abolition closer than ever as record number of countries vote to end executions

After a record number of UN member states today supported at the final vote a key UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Expert Chiara Sangiorgio said:

“The fact that more countries than ever before have voted to end executions shows that global abolition of the death penalty is becoming an inevitable reality. A death penalty-free world is closer than ever.

“This vote sends yet another important signal that more and more countries are willing to take steps to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment once and for all.

“The result also shows the increasing isolation of the 35 countries that voted against the resolution. Those countries still retaining the death penalty should immediately establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards full abolition.”

Background

121 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favour of the seventh resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the UNGA plenary session in New York, while 35 voted against and 32 abstained. 117 had done so in December 2016. This resolution was proposed by Brazil on behalf of an Inter-Regional Task Force of member states and co-sponsored by 83 states.

For the first time, Dominica, Libya, Malaysia and Pakistan changed their vote to support the resolution, while Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana and South Sudan moved from opposition to abstention. Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Mauritius, Niger, and Rwanda once again voted in favour of the call for a moratorium on executions, having not done so in 2016.

Five countries reversed their 2016 votes, with Nauru moving from vote in favour to vote against and Bahrain and Zimbabwe switching from abstention to opposition. Congo and Guinea changed from voting in favour to abstention.

When the UN was founded in 1945 only eight of the then 51 UN member states had abolished the death penalty. Today, 103 of 193 member states have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, and 139 have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. In 2017 executions were reported in 22 UN member states, 11% of the total. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. – Amnesty International, 17/12/2018