European Union speaks out on the Execution of Mr Ahmad Najib Aris in Malaysia

Related post:- 

MADPET SHOCKED AT THE EXECUTION OF AHMAD NAJIB ARIS WHEN ON THE VERGE OF ABOLITION OF MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY.

Execution of Mr Ahmad Najib Aris in Malaysia

Bruxelles, 27/09/2016 – 19:36 – UNIQUE ID: 160927_11

 

Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Mr Ahmad Najib Aris in Malaysia

 

The recent execution of Mr Ahmad Najib Aris in Malaysia – after serving 11 years on death row – runs counter to global trends towards establishing a moratorium on the use of capital punishment.

 

The European Union is opposed to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment and we have  consistently called for its universal abolition. Experience worldwide has also demonstrated that the death penalty fails to act as a deterrent to crime.

 

The review of the use of the death penalty, as announced by the Malaysian authorities, should begin as soon as possible and lead to the establishment of a moratorium on executions as a first step towards the universal abolition of the death penalty.

 

Source:- European Union Website

On every level, death penalty is wrong – Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein(UN High Commissioner for Human Rights)

On every level, death penalty is wrong

By: Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

@inquirerdotnet

12:26 AM July 21st, 2016

A decade after ending the use of the death penalty and taking a lead role in a global campaign to abolish capital punishment, the Philippines is again considering sending prisoners to the gallows. This is deeply concerning on a number of fronts.

Firstly, capital punishment is, in practice, fundamentally unjust. It disproportionately affects minorities, the poor, and those with mental disabilities.

Moreover, by backsliding on this legislation the Philippines will disregard its international obligations. In November 2007, when the Philippines became a state party to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the country committed to renouncing capital punishment forever—a decision bound by international law.

During his inauguration address on June 30, President Duterte vowed that the Philippines would honor treaties and international obligations. We trust he remains true to his word.

The President won this year’s election on the back of a promise to end crime in three to six months.  The number of killings of suspected drug traffickers by police and others reported almost daily since the May 9 elections is shocking. I call on the President to take strong measures to stop this alarming trend.

Exacting retribution against criminals may have popular support among the general public, but a credible judicial system must be grounded in justice, not vengeance. Is the death penalty an appropriate or effective response to narcotics offenses? The International Narcotics Control Board, which monitors the implementation of the UN drug control conventions, advises against capital punishment for drug offenses. The board has repeatedly recommended that to be effective, drug control action must be consistent with international human rights standards.

More broadly, researchers in various countries have shown there is no conclusive evidence that use of the death penalty is a greater deterrent to crime than other methods of punishment. Countries where the death penalty has been abandoned did not, in general, record a rise in crimes.

The death penalty is also irreversible: You can’t un-execute someone. But even robust justice systems have sentenced innocent people to die. Since 1973, 156 people on death row in the United States have been exonerated, many of them, through DNA testing, according to the Innocence Project. Is the Philippines prepared to put to death men and women who may later  be found innocent?

Consider the experience of Mongolia, which first abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes in the 1950s, then reintroduced it, before deciding, last December, to once again stop executing people. In reaching the decision, President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj said the people of Mongolia had suffered enough from the death penalty. In his words: “Removing the death penalty does not mean removing punishment. Criminals fear justice, and justice must be imminent and unavoidable. But we cannot repair one death with another.”

Fewer than 40 countries around the world continue to execute people. Around 170 countries have either abolished capital punishment, or have established a moratorium in law or practice. Will the Philippines move backward?

Fear, despair and frustration clearly prevail among all Filipinos amid a rise in crime and drug-related offenses. But it is the duty of political leaders to adopt solutions to the country’s challenges in ways that will support the rule of law and advance the protection of human rights.

I urge the country to consider all these facts with an open mind. The arguments are convincing and decisive: On every level—from principle to practice—use of the death penalty is wrong.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the UN high commissioner for human rights.

MALAYSIA : Moratorium on Executions for Drug Offenders Only?

MADPET urges Putrajaya to announce moratorium on death penalty

| July 14, 2016

The NGO expressed satisfaction that Malaysia has in place a “moratorium” on executions, especially for those languishing on death row for drug trafficking.
MADPET
KUALA LUMPUR: MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) has expressed satisfaction that Malaysia has in place a “moratorium on executions, especially for those languishing on death row for drug trafficking.
The NGO urged the Malaysian Government to extend the “moratorium” on executions to all persons on
death row, not for just those convicted for drug trafficking. “This only makes sense, since Malaysia is now in the process of abolishing the death penalty, beginning with the mandatory death penalty,” said MADPET spokesman Charles Hector in a statement.
He referred to Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s current AICHR (ASEAN Intergovernmental
Commission on Human Rights) representative, as reportedly saying “…Malaysia’s moratorium, I understand, is only for drug trafficking cases…’ (Star, 10/7/2015).”
“It must be noted that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), also did reiterate on 29 March 2016 their recommendation that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put in place in Malaysia”.
MADPET thinks that “this positive development” should not be kept secret, but should have long been proudly announced by the Malaysian Government.
In fact, continued Hector, Nancy Shukri, then de facto Law Minister, should have proudly announced Malaysia’s moratorium on executions when she took the stage at the 6th World Congress Against Death Penalty in Malaysia.
The existence of the mandatory death penalty, for offences that do not result in death, as in the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, only unnecessarily increases the risk of victims and/or witnesses to these crimes being killed by perpetrators to avoid the mandatory death penalty, said MADPET.
There are at least 10 offences in Malaysian laws that carry the mandatory death penalty, whereby only three are for offences that result in the death of the victim, added Hector. He cited the laws: Murder (sec.302 Penal Code), Committing terrorist acts where the act results in death (sec. 130C (1)(a) Penal Code); and Hostage taking where the act results in death (sec. 374(a) Penal Code).
For all the other mandatory death penalty offences, death does not result, he pointed out. “We are referring to Drug Trafficking (sec. 39B Dangerous Drugs Act 1952) and six types of offence listed in the Schedule of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which includes robbery, kidnapping, extortion and house trespass.” – FMT News, 14/7/2016

 

See related post:-

‘SECRET’ MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS IN MALAYSIA MUST BE PROUDLY ANNOUNCED AND MADE PUBLIC

Media Statement – 14/7/2016

‘SECRET’ MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS IN MALAYSIA MUST BE PROUDLY ANNOUNCED AND MADE PUBLIC

-Abolish Death Penalty –

MADPET is happy that Malaysia have in place a moratorium on executions, especially for those languishing on death row for drug trafficking. Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s current AICHR (ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights) representative, was recently reported saying ‘…Malaysia’s moratorium, I understand, is only for drug trafficking cases…’ (Star, 10/7/2015). It must be noted that Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), also did reiterate on 29 March 2016 their recommendation that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put in place in Malaysia.

MADPET is of the opinion that this positive development should not be kept secret, but should have long been proudly announced by the Malaysian government. In fact, Nancy Shukri, the de facto Law Minister, should have proudly announced Malaysia’s moratorium on executions when she took the stage at the 6th World Congress Against Death Penalty in Malaysia.

At the said Congress in Oslo, Norway on 21 June 2016, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, did state that Malaysia will soon be amending the laws to do away with the mandatory death penalty. Although, no time frame was mentioned, MADPET and others have called that these long overdue amendments be tabled at the upcoming sitting of Parliament in October 2016. In November 2015, the same Minister has said that the amendments would be tabled in the March 2016 sitting of Parliament.

MADPET urges Malaysia to extend the moratorium on executions to all persons on death row, not just those convicted for drug trafficking. This only makes sense, since Malaysia is now in the process of abolishing the death penalty, beginning with the mandatory death penalty.

In May 2016, Malaysia disclosed that there are 1,041 persons on death row. Based on the statistics revealed in 2011, when the number on death row was 696 (as 22/2/2011), 479(69%) were for drug trafficking, 204(29%) were for murder and 13(2%) for illegal processions of arms. It looks like almost all that may be on death row are for mandatory death penalty offences.

There are at least 10 offences in Malaysian laws that carry the mandatory death penalty, whereby only 3 are for offences that result in the death of the victim – Murder [sec.302 Penal Code], Committing terrorist acts where the act results in death [sec. 130C (1)(a) Penal Code]; and Hostage taking where the act results in death [sec. 374(a) Penal Code]. For all the other mandatory death penalty offences, death does not result, namely Drug Trafficking (sec. 39B Dangerous Drugs Act 1952) and 6 types of offence listed in the Schedule of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which includes robbery, kidnapping, extortion and house trespass.

The existence of mandatory death penalty, for offences that do not result in death, as in the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, only unnecessarily increase the risk of victims and/or witnesses to these crimes being killed by perpetrators to avoid the mandatory death penalty.

Malaysia’s moratorium on execution will be most welcome by everyone including the international community, as it will be seen to be in compliance with the now 5 existing United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) Resolutions, the first in 2007 and the last being in 2014, that called for ‘a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty’. Every time, these UNGA Resolutions have been tabled, the number of countries that have voted in favour have been increasing, demonstrating that the global trend is towards abolition.

Malaysia has every reason to be proud of the fact that they have been considering abolition, have in fact carried out serious studies which have now been concluded, and will be soon be taking the first step by abolishing mandatory death penalty. Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali, also the Public Prosecutor, is also for the scraping of the mandatory death penalty, and he was reported saying in 2015, that the ‘…mandatory death sentences were a “paradox”, as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals….’.

MADPET also urges Edmund Bon, to emulate his predecessor, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, in publicly declaring his personal position for the abolition of the death penalty. AICHR Representatives should also at the very least take a stand for the abolition of the death penalty in ASEAN, as had been done by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM).

MADPET urges Malaysia to immediately extend the moratorium on executions to all, not just only for those convicted for drug trafficking.

MADPET urges that Malaysia tables in the upcoming sitting of the Malaysian Parliament in October 2016, amendments and/or legislations that will see the abolition of the mandatory death penalty; and

MADPET urges Malaysia to abolish the death penalty.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

 

Note: Below extract from news report of an interview with Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s new representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) as published by the Star..

Is there a consensus within Asean with regard to the death penalty?

No. But within AICHR, there is a move to study whether we should get rid of the death penalty. One of the countries in AICHR has proposed this. We’re looking at how we can do it in stages. Malaysia’s moratorium, I understand, is only for drug trafficking cases. To the credit of my predecessor, he has raised this a number of times but he has not and we (AICHR) have not said, ‘let’s make a decision on this’ because some countries need the time to buy in, be comfortable that the death penalty is not sufficiently a deterrent punishment looking at the statistics. So we need a thematic study to convince the countries, including Malaysia. – Star, 9/7/2016, Improving Malaysia’s profile

Source: – MADPET Website

  • MADPET(Malaysians Against Detah Penalty and Torture) is a member of ADPAN

 

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’

maldives10
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

Malaysia: Criticized for delaying abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty

Media statement by Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and Publicity Secretary for Wanita DAP Kasthuri Patto on Monday 11 July 2016 in Penang.

Cabinet should not keeping shifting the goal post on committing to abolish the mandatory death penalty and table the amendments in the coming October Parliamentary sitting.

 

In a parliamentary reply dated 20 May to my question on the breakdown of nationalities on death row in Malaysia and if the government is ready to abolish the mandatory death penalty, up to 30 April 2015, 1042 are facing the death penalty. 629 are Malaysians and 413 are foreigners. 649 executions are pending court appeals whereas 393 are seeking pardon from the State Pardon’s Board.

While I welcome Law Minister Nancy Shukri’s statement yesterday amidst justifying the delay on tabling the amendments on the mandatory death penalty, the burden lies on her as Law Minister to table the proposals to the cabinet and together with Tan Sri Apandi Ali as Attorney General, should once and for all advocate and push for human rights reforms such as this to gain confidence amongst Malaysians, members of ASEAN and of the global community, carving a new identity for Malaysia as an abolitionist country.

In a written reply to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo in March 2014 on whether the government would impose a moratorium on executions and that the government is prepared to study the effectiveness of it, the government had clearly stated that it had no intention on a moratorium on executions, particular for those who have exhausted all avenues in seeking pardon from individual State Pardon’s Boards.

The reply also shockingly stated that the issue of the government abolishing the death penalty is non-existent as the State Pardon’s Board headed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has full authority to abolish the death penalty for offences committed in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya and for offences committed in other states, the jurisdiction lies within the powers vested in the Yang di-Pertua Negeri after the Federal Court has upheld the decision to execute, also citing Article 42(1) of the Federal Constitution on the power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all offences by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. And all this while, the Parliament has been given the impression that the ‘power’ to bring about these changes lies within the Cabinet and the AG.

This is the first case of shifting the goal post.

Secondly, the government clearly states, time and time again, that public opinion is in favour of retaining the death penalty. If yes, then it is laughable and ironic that the government decides as and when it wants to listen to public opinion as an online poll conducted by Gerakan in February 2016 shows that more than half of the 1523 anonymous respondents wanted an end to the death penalty. While the majority of the Malaysian public vehemently oppose the implementation of GST, the Government decides to turn a deaf ear to public opinion with stringy replies justifying the need to have it. According to Professor Mai Sato from University of Reading, when carrying out surveys on death penalties, a yes or no answer hardly addresses the weight of the matter which is for a state to take one’s life away. Tailor made public surveys with options given to the respondent have proven to be best strategies when gathering data on public opinion regarding the death penalty. However the government appears cagey on tailor made death penalty questionnaires to gauge public opinion. Such dense double standards speaks volumes about the severe lack of political will to bring amendments to the mandatory death penalty in the country.

The third shift of goal posts is, by not granting discretionary powers to the judges to hand down different forms of punishment apart from the death penalty, shows the dark hands of executive interference in the criminal justice system and judicial independence.

On 19 June 2016, Nancy Shukri stated in The Star that she really wants to see the amendment to the mandatory death penalty be passed and implemented prior to the 14th general election. As elected officials with legislative power, Members of Parliament have a duty to protect the rule of law and human rights. MPs from both sides of the divide must use our positions to push for the abolition of the death penalty with our governments as well as regional and international organisations. As Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, it is her moral responsibility to put political differences aside and together with MPs from the opposition and members of the civil society such as Amnesty International, Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), HAKAM and also members from the Bar Council to advocate for this tectonic change in our national policy in displaying valiant commitment in upholding and protecting human rights, especially on the right to life.

Cabinet should not keeping shifting the goal post on committing to abolish the mandatory death penalty and table the amendments in the coming October Parliamentary sitting.

 

Kasthuri: Cabinet shifting goal post on death penalty

FMT Reporters

| July 11, 2016

The latest shift of goal posts was by not granting discretionary powers to judges to hand down different forms of punishment.

Kasthuri-Patto

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet should not keep shifting the goal post on its commitment to abolish the death penalty, said Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto. “It should table the amendments in the parliamentary sitting in October.”

As Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, added the MP, “it was Nancy Shukri’s moral responsibility to advocate for this tectonic change in national policy.”

“She should demonstrate commitment in upholding and protecting human rights, especially the right to life.”

The latest shift of goal posts was by not granting discretionary powers to judges to hand down different forms of punishment apart from the death penalty, said Kasthuri. “It shows the dark hands of executive interference in the criminal justice system and judicial independence.”

Earlier, recalled the MP, the government shifted the goal post twice.

In a written reply in March 2014 to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, the government stated that it had no intention to impose a moratorium on executions, particularly for those who had exhausted all avenues in seeking pardon from individual State Pardon Boards.

Secondly, the government has clearly stated, time and time again, that public opinion was in favour of retaining the death penalty. “The majority of the people vehemently oppose GST, yet the government has turned a deaf ear to public opinion,” said Kasthuri.

In a parliamentary reply, dated May 20, to the MP’s question on the breakdown of nationalities on death row in Malaysia, it was disclosed that 629 were Malaysians and 413 were foreigners.

649 executions are pending court appeals whereas 393 are seeking pardon from State Pardon Boards. – FMT News, 11/7/2016

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