UNGA Resolution 2016 -24 of OIC’s 57 member states voted in favour, 13 abstained and 18 voted against

The resolution adopted on Dec 19, 2016 was backed by 117 states, while 40 voted against it and 31 abstained.

South Asia maintained its fondness for the death penalty as Pakistan joined Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Maldives in rejecting a universal moratorium, while Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka voted in favour.

24 of the OIC’s 57 member states voted in favour of the moratorium, while 13 abstained and only 18 voted against. The Muslim states that voted against were: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those who abstained included: Bahrain, Came­roon, Comoros, Djibouti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, and the UAE.

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Maldives – ADPAN and Ors say, ‘ immediately halt plans to carry out the execution of Hussain… ‘

JOINT STATEMENT

17 July 2016

Maldives: Resumption of executions after six decades would be a major setback for human rights

We, the undersigned organizations, are alarmed at recent statements by members of the Maldives government, including President Abdullah Yameen, indicating that the country will resume executions imminently. We urge the authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on all executions as a first step towards full abolition of the death penalty. The Maldives should maintain its commendable six-decade-long track record of not carrying out any executions.
Since 2012 Maldives has changed its position from voting against UN General Assembly resolutions calling on states to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty to abstaining. We hoped that this signalled the beginning of the country’s journey to rid itself of this punishment once and for all. This would have been consistent with the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty which continues unabated, despite a recent significant increase in the number of recorded executions in a handful of countries. In 2015, the majority of the world’s countries became abolitionist for all crimes following the repeal of the death penalty from national legislation in Congo (Republic of), Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname. Nauru abolished the death penalty this year and abolition processes are being finalized in Guinea and Mongolia.
In Maldives, however, authorities have since 2014 taken steps to resume executions, including by amending national legislation. New regulations, among other steps, have seen the following changes:
Introduction of lethal injection as the method of execution, which was subsequently changed again to hanging in June 2016;
Removal of the power from the executive to grant pardons or commutations of death sentences in murder cases, depriving those facing the death penalty of the right to apply for these as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Maldives is a state party; and
Shortened time frame for appeals in capital cases, which risks undermining the prisoners’ right to adequate time to prepare their appeal.
Government officials have also pledged that executions should happen within 30 days of the confirmation of guilty verdicts by the Supreme Court.
If Maldives resumes executions, it would not only go against the global trend towards abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, but it would also be in violation of Maldives’ obligations under international law. We are concerned that several international and national safeguards that must be observed in all capital cases were breached in the recent case of Hussein Humaam Ahmed, who was convicted for the murder of Dr Afrasheem Ali, a sitting MP, in 2012.

Humaam on 24 June 2016 became the first person to have his conviction and death sentence upheld by the Maldives Supreme Court after the recent legal reforms. Our concerns include the fact that Humaam retracted a pre-trial confession, which he has insisted he made due to fear for the safety of his family members, but the trial court nevertheless took into account this “confession” in its guilty verdict.

Furthermore, claims by Humaam and his family that he has a mental disability which directly affected his capacity to support his legal representatives in the overall effectiveness of his defence were ignored during his trials. No independent psychiatric evaluation of Humaam has taken place as far as his family or legal representatives are aware. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 24 June 2016 despite the victim’s father and brother asking to delay the implementation of the death sentence of Humaam, citing an “incomplete investigation” into the circumstances of his murder. Humaam’s execution may be imminent.
There are at least a total of 17 prisoners on death row in Maldives, all of whose lives are at risk should the authorities resume executions. In early July 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of another murder convict, Ahmed Murrath, meaning his execution could also be imminent.
It is also concerning that the Maldivian authorities are citing the resumption of executions as a necessary measure to prevent crime. Studies have consistently failed to show that the death penalty is more of a deterrent to crime than other forms of punishment.
We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately halt plans to carry out the execution of Hussain Humaam Ahmed and to commute his, and all other, existing death sentences in Maldives. These, together with the establishment of a moratorium on all executions, must be the first, urgent steps towards full abolition of the death penalty.
Co-signed by:

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (Iran)
Amnesty International
Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, ADPAN
Association Justice and Mercy, AJEM (Lebanon)
Embrey Human Rights Program (Southern Methodist University-Dallas, Texas)
Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme, FIDH
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative
German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Greater Caribbean for Life
Hands Off Cain
Human Rights Law Service (Nigeria)
International Commission of Jurists (Kenyan section)
International CURE
Iran Human Rights
Italian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Lawyers For Human Rights International (India)
Lutte pour la justice (France)
Lifespark (Switzerland)
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture, MADPET
Ordre des Barreaux francophones et germanophone de Belgique
Parliamentarians for Global Action
Reprieve
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, TAEDP
Think Centre (Singapore)
World Organisation Against Torture, OMCT

Maldives to have first execution in 60 years in order to showcase ‘Islamic credentials’

Maldives to have first execution in 60 years in order to showcase ‘Islamic credentials’

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Male (Maldives): Beleaguered Maldives President Abdulla Yameen is adamant that the first execution of a convict in sixty years will take place under his watch as a reiteration of Maldives’ Islamic credentials.

The politically isolated president, who is shunned by colleagues and family, is refusing to intervene despite several scholars calling the proposed execution un-Islamic.He has also ignored appeals of human rights groups and even the United Nations to stay the execution.

Twenty two-year-old Hussain Humaam Ahamed was condemned to death by the Maldives Supreme Court in 2014 for the murder of a Member of Parliament, Afrasheem Ali, in 2012.

The verdict was based on a confession that was obtained when he was in custody, which he retracted later. The Supreme Court, over which President Yameen has a stranglehold, disregarded the claim that Humaam has a mental disability and the request for an independent psychiatric evaluation.

If the death sentence is carried out, it will be the first execution in the Maldives since 1953.

The voices of protest have been crushed in the Maldives due to strict curbs, but renowned Islamic scholar at the University of Oxford, Tariq Ramadan, in a letter to President Yameen, has listed out reasons why the proposed execution is un-Islamic.

Citing extensively from the Hudud – the Islamic Penal Code, Ramadan has argued that 22-year-old Humaam’s death penalty contravened many basic prescriptions in the Shariah.

Stating that Humaam’s `confession’ was forcefully obtained, undermining fairness of his trial at a basic level, Ramadan has pointed out that pleas made by Humaam’s family that he was suffering from mental disability, has been totally disregarded by the court.

This, Ramadan argues, is also against Islamic law and jurisprudence as any doubt about the mental health of a murderer should play in his or her favour.

The heavy conditions found in the Islamic legislation have as a raison d’etre (`illah) to avoid any doubt; if there is the slightest doubt, then the punishment should be suspended.

Ramadan also emphasises that it was un-Islamic on the part of President Yameen to ignore requests of the victim’s father and brother, who have stated that they do not wish the death sentence to be implemented.

This call to spare Humaam’s life by two members of the victim’s family cannot be ignored under Sharia law. According to the principles of qisas, if the family of the victim asks for the sentence not to be implemented at any time before the execution (for the majority of the `ulama’), the latter should be suspended whatever the public authority might decide.

If Yameen were to respect Shariah conditions, it is imperative for him to listen to the family’s position, says the scholar. Ramadan adds that the above and beyond all of this, Rahmah (compassion) is an absolute necessity and an essential principle even if there is no element of doubt and conditions are met.

Tariq Ramadan has categorically stated in his letter to President Yameen that Humaam’s execution would contravene the fundamental principles of Islamic law and urged the latter to take all possible actions to prevent the execution.

Tariq Ramadan has got support from human rights groups around the world who have appealed to the Maldivian president that International law prohibits the use of death penalty against people with mental disabilities. But President Yameen, who has reintroduced capital punishment after a moratorium of 60 years, seems determined to not just stop the arbitrary deprivation of life but also break the tenets of Islamic law.

Ever since President Yameen reintroduced the death penalty in Maldives, execution facilities have been constructed at the Maldives’ Maafushi Prison.

The age of criminal responsibility is 10 in the Maldives which means that even juvelines could potentially face execution. (ANI) – The Siasat Daily, 10/7/2016