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

Amnesty International urges Malaysia to end death penalty

Amnesty International urges Malaysia to end death penalty

Shamini Darshni Kalimuthu, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, seeks during a press conference in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Amnesty International has urged Malaysia to abolish the death penalty, saying unfair trials and the use of harsh treatment to obtain confessions put people at risk of execution. AP Photo 

Amnesty International urged Malaysia’s government on Thursday to keep its promise to abolish the death penalty, saying unfair trials and the use of harsh treatment to obtain confessions put people at risk of execution.

The rights group released details of nearly two years of research on 150 cases as well as interviews with prisoners’ families, lawyers and embassy officials in a report that it said showed the use of the death penalty was “fatally flawed.”

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s government promised shortly after taking power in May 2018 to scrap capital punishment, which mandates hanging as punishment for a wide range of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, treason, kidnapping and acts of terror.

But the government backtracked after public objection. Parliament, which resumed meeting this week, will instead remove mandatory death penalties for some offenses and give courts discretion in imposing the sentence.

The report said 73% of the 1,281 people on death row as of February were convicted of drug offenses, including 568 foreigners from 43 countries and many poor members of ethnic minorities.

It said some prisoners were tortured and beaten to make them confess. In one case, a Malaysian man detained in 2005 for possessing drugs and later sentenced to death had his finger broken by police, who also threatened to beat up his girlfriend, it said.

Those who are poor often go without legal assistance until they are brought to court, it said. Some were asked to sign documents in the Malay language that were not translated for them, according to the report.

The group said the pardon process was also not transparent, with no clear criteria and access to pro-bono legal services controlled by prison officials. It said half of the foreigners on death row didn’t seek pardons.

“Our research found a pattern of unfair trials and secretive hangings that itself spoke volumes. From allegations of torture and other ill-treatment to an opaque pardons process, it’s clear the death penalty is a stain on Malaysia’s criminal justice system,” Amnesty Malaysia director Sharmini Darshni Kaliemuthu said.

The group said its requests to meet Malaysian authorities including the police and officials in the attorney-general’s office for more details were rejected or unanswered.

It said government sources indicated 469 people had been executed since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, half of them for drug trafficking.

The death penalty is currently retained for nearly three dozen offenses. Amnesty International urged Malaysia to move toward scrapping capital punishment by repealing mandatory death sentences for all crimes and maintaining a moratorium on executions until then.

Government officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Many Asian countries including China, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam impose capital punishment. – The Charlotte Observer, 10/10/2019

Amnesty International Malaysia is a member of ADPAN

Malaysia – Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty should happen in this Parliamentary Session

* This statement was carried by Malay Mail, 10/10/2019

Media Statement – 10/10/2019 (World Day Against Death Penalty)

Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty should happen in this Parliamentary Session

17th World Day Against the Death Penalty – Rights of Children of those on Death Row and those executed

On the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, which falls on 10th October, MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) notes sadly that Malaysia has yet to abolish the Death Penalty, let alone the mandatory Death Penalty.

In 2018, on the World Day Against Death Penalty, it was announced that the Malaysian Cabinet had decided to abolish the death penalty not just the mandatory death penalty.

This abolition would have facilitated the return of Sirul Azhar Umar, now in Australia, an abolitionist nation, that refuse to repatriate him back to Malaysia as he faces the risk of execution. Sirul was seen by many as an important witness that may lead to the identification and prosecution of the other persons who were behind the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian mother of two.

The abolition of the death penalty would also eliminate the possibility of execution of innocent persons – miscarriage of justice. The police, prosecutors, judges and even lawyers of the accused, all being human beings, are not infallible and could cause the wrongful execution of persons. We recall the case when in January 2011, when Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice admitted that Chiang Kuo-ching, a private in the Air Force, had been executed in error in 1997 for a murder committed 15 years previously.

In Malaysia, it has also been shown that death penalty, even the mandatory death penalty has not deterred crime. In 2017, it was revealed in Parliament that there was an increase of drug cases every year despite the drastic measures taken by the police, which we could take as including the fact of the existence of the mandatory death penalty for section 39B DDA 1952 – drug trafficking. It may be same for murder, but it is difficult as Malaysia stopped revealing actual statistics under the previous government.

The failure of government resulting in poverty may also be the cause of many crimes including those that now carry the death penalty.

On 10 October 2019, the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty aims at raising awareness on the rights of children whose parents have been sentenced to death or executed. Malaysia, a party of the Child Rights Convention, now should have the best interest of the child as a major concern. The execution of a parent, sibling or relative of any child is certainly never in the best interest of the child.

The abolition of the death penalty is also consistent with the Malaysian policy with crime and sentencing. We believe in second chances. When one pleads guilty, the sentence is reduced by a third. For those in prison, good behavior and rehabilitation will lead to remission of sentence and early release. All these values and principles cannot apply when one is sentenced to death or mandatory death penalty.

U-Turn on Decision To Abolish Death Penalty

However, on 13th March 2019, Malaysian cabinet did a U-turn on abolishing the death penalty for all 33 offences, and instead agreed to only abolish the mandatory death penalty for all 11 mandatory death penalty offences.

Since the Pakatan Harapan is a coalition government made up of 4-5 parties, it would be interesting to know which party changed its position on abolition and why. Through its MPs, we believe that DAP was an abolitionist party, but its current position now is a mystery.

Sadly, we have yet to see any tabling any Bills in Parliament to date that will effectively abolish the mandatory death penalty. The earlier indication was that these Bill/s will be tabled in the current Parliamentary session which began in October 2019.

MADPET was concerned about the recent setting up of a special committee in September 2019 to look into alternatives to the death sentence which may end up just being yet another excuse to delay abolition of the mandatory death penalty. Such committees or task force could have been set up last year since the decision to abolish the death penalty. It could have been even earlier, for the abolition of the mandatory death penalty was an election promise of Pakatan Harapan.

We reiterate that the mandatory death penalty could be immediately abolished, which will mean that judges will then have the discretion to sentence people to imprisonment or death. For the time being, it could simply be life imprisonment or natural life imprisonment. Later, if a better ‘alternative sentence’ comes from this or that ‘committee’, ’task force’  or consultations, the Act can always be further amended later.

The abolition of the mandatory death penalty should not be further delayed by the government.

Accused persons now on trial or whose trial starts before the abolition will be greatly prejudiced as both prosecution and defense lawyers may be adducing evidence only towards finding of guilt or innocence. They will not be adducing evidence as to why a person should receive a lesser sentence since the courts have no discretion as to sentence when they can only provide the one mandatory sentence.

MADPET is also against all mandatory sentences, as it removes judicial discretion when it comes to sentencing. Laws should only provide for maybe maximum sentences, and trust in our judges to impose a just sentence on each and every convicted after taking all facts and circumstances into consideration.

Malaysia created history in December 2018, when it voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the abolition of the death penalty.

MADPET hopes that the abolition of the mandatory death penalty is just the first step, towards a total abolition of the death penalty which we hope will happen soon, certainly before the next General Elections.

MADPET calls for the immediate tabling of the Bill/s to abolish the mandatory death penalty in this current Parliamentary session, for any other additional amendments could very easily be brought in by subsequent amendments later on;

MADPET calls for the passing of an Act of Parliament that will have the effect of commuting the death sentence of about 1,200 on death row, especially those that have exhausted their appeals in court;

MADPET also calls for further amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, where mandatory death penalty has already been abolished, to allow judges to consider all mitigating and aggravating circumstances and remove the limitations/conditions now in that law;

MADPET calls for a moratorium on all executions, pending the total abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Abolition of mandatory death penalty should happen in this parliamentary session ― Charles Hector

Thursday, 10 Oct 2019 04:26 PM MYT

OCTOBER 10 ― On the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, which falls on October 10, MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) notes sadly that Malaysia has yet to abolish the death penalty, let alone the mandatory death penalty.

In 2018, on the World Day Against Death Penalty, it was announced that the Malaysian Cabinet had decided to abolish the death penalty not just the mandatory death penalty.

This abolition would have facilitated the return of Sirul Azhar Umar, now in Australia, an abolitionist nation, that refuse to repatriate him back to Malaysia as he faces the risk of execution. Sirul was seen by many as an important witness that may lead to the identification and prosecution of the other persons who were behind the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian mother of two.

The abolition of the death penalty would also eliminate the possibility of execution of innocent persons ― miscarriage of justice. The police, prosecutors, judges and even lawyers of the accused, all being human beings, are not infallible and could cause the wrongful execution of persons. We recall the case when in January 2011, when Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice admitted that Chiang Kuo-ching, a private in the Air Force, had been executed in error in 1997 for a murder committed 15 years previously.

In Malaysia, it has also been shown that death penalty, even the mandatory death penalty has not deterred crime. In 2017, it was revealed in Parliament that there was an increase of drug cases every year despite the drastic measures taken by the police, which we could take as including the fact of the existence of the mandatory death penalty for section 39B DDA 1952 – drug trafficking. It may be same for murder, but it is difficult as Malaysia stopped revealing actual statistics under the previous government.

The failure of government resulting in poverty may also be the cause of many crimes including those that now carry the death penalty.

On October 10, 2019, the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty aims at raising awareness on the rights of children whose parents have been sentenced to death or executed. Malaysia, a party of the Child Rights Convention, now should have the best interest of the child a major concern. The execution of a parent, sibling or relative of any child is certainly never in the best interest of the child.

The abolition of the death penalty is also consistent with the Malaysian policy with crime and sentencing. We believe in second chances. When one pleads guilty, the sentence is reduced by a third. For those in prison, good behaviour and rehabilitation will lead to remission of sentence and early release. All these values and principles cannot apply when one is sentenced to death or mandatory death penalty.

U-turn on decision to abolish death penalty

However, on March 13, 2019, Malaysian cabinet did a U-turn on abolishing the death penalty for all 33 offences, and instead agreed to only abolish the mandatory death penalty for all 11 mandatory death penalty offences.

Since the Pakatan Harapan is a coalition government made up of four to five parties, it would be interesting to know which party changed its position on abolition and why. Through its MPs, we believe that DAP was an abolitionist party, but its current position now is a mystery.

Sadly, we have yet to see any tabling any Bills in Parliament to date that will effectively abolish the mandatory death penalty. The earlier indication was that these Bill/s will be tabled in the current Parliamentary session which began in October 2019.

MADPET was concerned about the recent setting up of a special committee in September 2019 to look into alternatives to the death sentence which may end up just being yet another excuse to delay abolition of the mandatory death penalty. Such committees or task force could have been set up last year since the decision to abolish the death penalty. It could have been even earlier, for the abolition of the mandatory death penalty was an election promise of Pakatan Harapan.

We reiterate that the mandatory death penalty could be immediately abolished, which will mean that judges will then have the discretion to sentence people to imprisonment or death. For the time being, it could simply be life imprisonment or natural life imprisonment. Later, if a better “alternative sentence” comes from this or that “committee”, “task force”  or consultations, the Act can always be further amended later.

The abolition of the mandatory death penalty should not be further delayed by the government.

Accused persons now on trial or whose trial starts before the abolition will be greatly prejudiced as both prosecution and defence lawyers may be adducing evidence only towards finding of guilt or innocence. They will not be adducing evidence as to why a person should receive a lesser sentence since the courts have no discretion as to sentence when they can only provide the one mandatory sentence.

MADPET is also against all mandatory sentences, as it removes judicial discretion when it comes to sentencing. Laws should only provide for maybe maximum sentences, and trust in our judges to impose a just sentence on each and every convicted after taking all facts and circumstances into consideration.

Malaysia created history in December 2018, when it voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the abolition of the death penalty.

MADPET hopes that the abolition of the mandatory death penalty is just the first step, towards a total abolition of the death penalty which we hope will happen soon, certainly before the next general elections.

MADPET calls for the immediate tabling of the Bill/s to abolish the mandatory death penalty in this current Parliamentary session, for any other additional amendments could very easily be brought in by subsequent amendments later on;

MADPET calls for the passing of an Act of Parliament that will have the effect of commuting the death sentence of about 1,200 on death row, especially those that have exhausted their appeals in court;

MADPET also calls for further amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, where mandatory death penalty has already been abolished, to allow judges to consider all mitigating and aggravating circumstances and remove the limitations/conditions now in that law;

MADPET calls for a moratorium on all executions, pending the total abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia. – Malay Mail, 10/10/2019