Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network

Malaysia:- Decision made to Abolish the Death Penalty

Malaysia has just announced that the Cabinet has decided to abolish the Death Penalty, and the Bills to give effect to this decision will be tabled in the upcoming Parliamentary session beginning 15 October 2018.

 

Media Statement – 11/10/2018

MADPET welcomes Malaysian Cabinet Decision to Abolish the Death Penalty

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) welcomes the announcement that the Malaysian Cabinet has finally decided to abolish the death penalty, and that the needed Bill will be tabled at the next Parliamentary session, now scheduled to begin on 15/10/2018.

In the evening of 10 October 2018, the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, it was reported in the media thatThe Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and it will be tabled in the next Parliament sitting, which will begin on October 15, said Datuk Liew Vui Keong.The minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister’s Department said while the government is studying certain cases, as of now, all executions have been halted.“All death penalty will be abolished. Full stop….’(Malay Mail, 10/10/2018)

With regard persons currently on death row ‘…the Pardons Board will be tasked with looking into the applications of death row inmates. “Our view is that executions should not be carried out we will inform the Pardons Board to look into the various applications for all the death row inmates to either commute or release them…’ (Malay Mail, 10/10/2018)

This will certainly be good news for the spouses, children and relatives of the about 1,267 people on death row or 2.7% of the prison population of about 60,000 people.(Star, 28/6/2018). Their parent and/or relative will no longer be hanged to death and will live.

Whilst the announcement of the cabinet decision by the Minister is most welcome, in Malaysia, one will have to wait until the needed Bills are tabled in Parliament, become law and then put into force, hopefully by the end of 2018. Malaysians have been subjected by similar promises and/or assurances by Ministers in the past government, only to be later disappointed.

As such, it is our hope that the said Bills that will effectively abolish the death penalty will be tabled at the upcoming Parliamentary session, at the very least for the First Reading, if there be no time for it to be debated and passed.

MADPET hopes that Members of Parliament and Senators from the Opposition parties will fully support the just move to abolish the death penalty.

MADPET await the day when we can finally celebrate the abolition of the death penalty in law, and there will be no more death row in Malaysia.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET

Note:-

  • Malay Mail, 10/10/2018 – Minister: Putrajaya to abolish death penalty [https://www.malaymail.com/s/1681448/minister-putrajaya-to-abolish-death-penalty]
  • The Business Times, 10/10/2018 – Malaysia To Abolish Death Penalty [https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/malaysia-to-abolish-death-penalty]

‘Don’t block death penalty abolition’ – NGO tells opposition MPs and senators

Published: Today 11:38 am  |  Modified: Today 1:44 pm

 

The Malaysian Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) has called on the opposition and BN-controlled Dewan Negara to support Putrajaya’s plan to abolish the death penalty.

Madpet spokesperson Charles Hector said the cabinet decision to abolish the death penalty yesterday was good news for some 1,267 people facing death row.

“Madpet hopes the MPs and senators from the opposition parties will fully support the just move to abolish the death penalty,” he said in a statement today.

Hector added that Madpet hoped Putrajaya will follow through with its decision, pointing out that the previous BN government had also made similar indications which never materialised.

The BN-controlled Dewan Negara had previously blocked the abolition of the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 after the Dewan Rakyat approved its repeal.

Meanwhile, National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Gurdial Singh Nijar said the decision was “historic” and a fulfilment of Pakatan Harapan government’s manifesto.

“A death penalty is irreversible. There have been cases where the wrong people have been sentenced to death for a variety of reasons – including poor quality of defence. Thus, innocent lives are put at risk.

“Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the US in 1976, 138 innocent men and women have been released from death row, including some who came within minutes of execution. No such research has been conducted in Malaysia,” he said in a separate statement.

Gurdial acknowledged that the families of murder victims suffer a great sense of loss and are traumatised but stressed that the execution of another does not help them heal nor does it end their pain.

“Perhaps there are other ways the state can help such families, especially those of murder victims – such as the provision of funds now being used for the costly process of executions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty advisor N Surendran lauded Putrajaya’s decision as “remarkable”.

However, he added that the government should also fight for Malaysian citizens facing the death sentence abroad.

“At this moment, let us also not forget the many hundreds of Malaysians who are languishing on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules.

“A large number of Malaysians are awaiting execution just across the causeway in Singapore, mainly for drug offences,” he said in a statement.

One such example, Surendran said, was the execution of S Prabagaran (photo) in Singapore last year.

“The BN government did nothing to save him… I, myself, as his lawyer was in communication with then deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who personally assured me that he would help save Prabagaran.

“But in the end, Zahid was no help at all. Neither he nor the BN government said or did anything serious to stop the execution.

“We call upon the government to vigorously speak up for our citizens facing death in distant shores. Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens abroad,” he said. – Malaysiakini, 11/10/2018

GAMBAR fail, Yang Dipertua Dewan Negara, Tan Sri S A Vigneswaran. – Foto Sairien Nafis

Hukuman mati: MP pembangkang, senator usah sabotaj pula

Oleh Luqman Arif Abdul Karim

cnews@nstp.com.my

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Hasrat kerajaan untuk menghapuskan pelaksanaan hukuman mati mandatori bersandarkan prinsip kemanusiaan diharap tidak disabotaj pembangkang yang ketika ini mempelopori kuasa Dewan Negara.

 

Jurucakap Malaysia Menentang Hukuman Mati dan Penyeksaan (MADPET), Charles Hector Fernandez, ketika menyuarakan pendirian itu berkata janji atau jaminan sama pernah diusulkan pentadbiran terdahulu, namun ia akhirnya mengundang kekecewaan dalam kalangan masyarakat dan aktivis apabila gagal ditepati.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, MADPET berharap ahli Parlimen dan Senator daripada blok pembangkang akan memberikan sokongan penuh terhadap keputusan yang adil oleh kerajaan ketika membentangkan usul untuk menghapuskan hukuman mati mandatori.

“Oleh itu, kami harap usul menghapuskan hukuman mati mandatori ini dibentangkan pada sidang Parlimen akan datang, mulai 15 Oktober ini, sekurang-kurangnya untuk bacaan kali pertama sekiranya tiada masa mencukupi bagi perbahasan dan diluluskan,” katanya dalam kenyataan, hari ini.

Persidangan Dewan Negara, pada 12 September lalu, melakar kejutan apabila menolak Rang Undang-Undang Antiberita Tidak Benar (Pemansuhan) 2018 yang sebelum itu diluluskan di Dewan Rakyat pada 16 Ogos lalu selepas bacaan kali ketiga.

Perkara itu diumumkan Yang Dipertua Dewan Negara, Tan Sri S A Vigneswaran, selepas undi belah bahagian menyaksikan 28 anggota dewan tidak menyokong pemansuhan akta itu berbanding 21 yang menyokong, manakala tiga yang lain memilih untuk tidak mengundi.

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, semalam dilaporkan berkata pelaksanaan hukuman mati mandatori bagi semua kesalahan akan dimansuhkan di negara ini.

Susulan pengumuman itu, katanya, semua pelaksanaan hukuman mati akan ditangguhkan sehingga pemansuhan berkenaan berkuat kuasa.

Mengulas lanjut, Fernandez menyifatkan pengumuman itu ialah khabar gembira untuk waris dan ahli keluarga kira-kira 1,267 banduan yang ketika ini menanti hukuman mati mandatori.

“Perangkaan yang mewakili 2.7 peratus daripada keseluruhan 60,000 banduan ini akhirnya tidak akan digantung, justeru ahli keluarga dan ibu bapanya berupaya menarik nafas lega kerana mereka masih diberikan peluang untuk meneruskan hidup. – Berita Harian, 11/10/2018

Next, save Malaysians sentenced to death abroad, Putrajaya told

Published 1 hour ago on 11 October 2018

By Zurairi AR

Surendran reminded the Pakatan Harapan government that many citizens are awaiting execution in other countries, including in Singapore, mainly for drug offences. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Civil group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) urged today the federal government to rescue Malaysians on death row abroad after announcing its plan to abolish capital punishment.

LFL adviser N. Surendran praised the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for its move to table an abolition of laws providing for the death penalty in the next Dewan Rakyat sitting, but said many citizens are awaiting execution in other countries, including just across the Causeway in Singapore, mainly for drug offences.

“At this moment, let us also not forget the many hundreds of Malaysians who are languishing on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules,” the lawyer said in a statement.

In July last year, S. Prabagaran was hanged in Singapore after he was convicted of drug trafficking, despite calls from the United Nations and others to suspend his execution.

“Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens abroad,” Surendran said, adding that this must be a priority for the Foreign Ministry and Putrajaya.

The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) said today that the decision to abolish the death penalty infuses Malaysia’s criminal justice system with values that “upholds life and proves its love for its citizenry — no matter how and where and when they have gone wrong”.

Hakam president Gurdial Singh Nijar pointed out that the death penalty is irreversible, putting innocent lives at risk, and abolishing it would relieve judges and the State from deciding on someone’s life.

Gurdial also said that a life sentence with opportunity of parole would provide an opportunity for rehabilitation, and the funds now used for executions can better be used to help families of victims, especially those of the crime of murder.

However, Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) has warned Putrajaya against disappointing Malaysians in enacting the decision, hoping that the Bill will be tabled at least for the first reading at the next immediate session.

“Madpet hopes that MP and Senators from the Opposition parties will fully support the just move to abolish the death penalty,” said its spokesman Charles Hector.

Yesterday, de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said while the government is studying certain cases, as of now, all executions have been halted.

It has been reported that a total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, while 35 have been executed in the last decade.- Malay Mail, 11/10/2018

See also:-

MADPET welcomes Malaysian Cabinet Decision to Abolish the Death Penalty

MADPET – PH Government need make good promise to abolish ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts’(statement issued on 10/10/2018, before the announcement of cabinet decision to abolish death penalty)

Minister: Putrajaya to abolish death penalty

Published 10 hours ago on 10 October 2018

By Ida Nadirah Ibrahim

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, gives a speech during the ‘Law Reform Talk’ in Universiti Malaya October 10, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, Oct 10 — The Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and it will be tabled in the next Parliament sitting, which will begin on October 15, said Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

The minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister’s Department said while the government is studying certain cases, as of now, all executions have been halted.

“All death penalty will be abolished. Full stop.

“We are studying certain issues… we need to look into it and hear the views of all, but as it stands today, the decision is to abolish the death penalty,” he told the media after the “Law Reform Talk” at Universiti Malaya here, today.

Liew said that with Putrajaya intending to abolish the death penalty, the Pardons Board will be tasked with looking into the applications of death row inmates.

“Our view is that executions should not be carried out we will inform the Pardons Board to look into the various applications for all the death row inmates to either commute or release them.

“When commuted, they would have to face life imprisonment because there had been several deaths that were caused by the offender and so they were sentenced to death by the court,” he said.

Liew added that all the paperwork for the abolishment of the law is in its final stages, and that the Attorney General (AG) had given the green light for it to be tabled in Parliament.

“All the papers are in the final stage. The AG has also indicated to us that it is ready to be tabled, hopefully in this (Parliamentary) session,” he said.

Earlier in his opening speech, Liew said the Pakatan Harapan government is also mulling a repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 and other draconian laws. – Malay Mail, 10/10/2018

Japan – Condemnation of the Mass Execution Authorized by the Japanese Minister of Justice: Yoko Kamikawa

Condemnation of the Mass Execution Authorized by the Japanese Minister of Justice: Yoko Kamikawa
July 26, 2018
Center for Prisoner Rights
Japan Innocence and Death Penalty Information Center
Today, according to an order signed by Minister of Justice (Ms) Yoko Kamikawa, six former members of the Aum Supreme Truth Cult, Satoru Hashimoto, age 51; Toru Toyota, age 50; Kenichi Hirose, age 54; Yasuo Hayashi (later named Yasuo Koike), age 60; Masato Yokoyama, age 54; and Kazuaki Okazaki (later named Kazuaki Miyamae), age 57, were executed. Hayashi and Okazaki changed their surnames after they were imprisoned.
The Center for Prisoner Rights and the Japan Innocence and Death Penalty Information Center strongly protest this mass execution. Including the 7 executions carried out on July 6th, 13 executions have occurred inside twenty days. This is the first time in modern Japanese history that so many executions have occurred in such a short time span.
After the 7 executions on July 6, many voices throughout the world have criticized the Japanese government regarding this awful act. Leading movements such as The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), and the Worldwide Movement for Human Rights (FIDH), have shouted loudly for the revocation of the death sentences against the remaining six cult members. Four of these, Yokoyama, Koike, Toyota and Hirose, had filed for retrials.
Executing those who have filed for retrial violates the right of due process, and nullifies the right of having an objective court of law decide a proper outcome. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has repeatedly admonished the Japanese government to postpone execution of those who have filed for retrials.
  Furthermore, in March of this year, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)has insisted that the executions of the 13 Aum defendants, regardless of the status of retrial, would be in violation of United Nation Standards for the Protection of Human Rights.
In addition, many other voices have called for the termination of executions. These include the Japan Society for Cult Prevention and Recovery (www.jscpr.org/english), and the families of former Aum members-including victims of violence-have spoken out against execution. They seek a better understanding of the dynamics which caused this tragedy, and methods to prevent future occurrences.
With todays executions, the total number authorized by Minister of Justice Yoko Kamikawa, including her previous term (from October, 2014 to October, 2015) is now 16. This is the highest number since executions were restarted in 1993, and even surpasses the 13 authorized by a previous minister, Kunio Hatoyama, who the media dubbed as the “grim reaper.”
This past September (2017), Kamikawa presented the welcome remarks at the World Congress on Probation in Tokyo. The motto of the conference was “People can change.” As justice minister, Kamikawa’s motto is “a society in which no one is left behind.” A politician with two faces, she obviously does not believe that people will change, and is happy to dispose and leave behind prisoners sentenced to death. Including those who show remorse and have apologized for past acts.
In 2019, Japan will hold the Enthronement Ceremony for the new emperor, In 2020, Tokyo will host the summer Olympics and Para-Olympics, and Kyoto will host the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. In light of these events which are celebrations of harmony and friendship among nations, the mass execution of former Aum Supreme Truth cultists is truly a contradiction.
On December 30, 1997, the nation of South Korea carried out 23 executions in one day. Since then, no executions have occurred. We strongly request that the Japanese government and the Ministry of Justice follow the lead of international society and abandon abnormal punishment. We hope that this round of executions will be the last in Japan, and demand that concrete investigation and dialogue be immediately opened toward the abolishment of the death penalty.

Japan – 6 More Executed on 26/7/2018(Thursday)

National / Crime & Legal

Japan sends last six Aum death row inmates to the gallows

by Sakura Murakami

Staff Writer

The six remaining Aum Shinrikyo cult members on death row were executed Thursday morning, the Justice Ministry said, with all 13 of the cult members sentenced to death now having been hanged over the span of three weeks.

The executions followed the hanging of Shoko Asahara, the founder of the doomsday cult, and six former senior members of the group on July 6.

The six hung Thursday were Satoru Hashimoto, 51; Toru Toyoda, 50; Kenichi Hirose, 54; Yasuo Hayashi (later named Yasuo Koike), 60; Masato Yokoyama, 54; and Kazuaki Okazaki (later named Kazuaki Miyamae), 57. Hayashi and Okazaki changed their surnames after they were imprisoned.

The 13 high-level Aum members were sentenced to death for committing crimes including those involving the cult’s sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway system in 1995; another sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in 1994; and the murder of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family in 1989.

It is rare for the government to execute this many death row inmates over a short period of time. Until now, the shortest time span between executions since November 1998, when records of executions were made public, was 47 days.

Media outlets have speculated that the Justice Ministry wanted to close the curtain on the shocking crimes and dramatic events before the end of the Heisei Era, which began in 1989. The era is set to end next year as Emperor Akihito plans to abdicate on April 30.

The cult had attracted many young people, including those who were highly educated at top-level universities. Some followers were believed to have become disillusioned with the materialism seen amid the euphoria of the bubble economy in the 1980s.

The indiscriminate murders by Aum, in particular those in the Tokyo subway attack, deeply shocked the nation and are still remembered as key events that damaged a long-held sense of security felt by many in postwar Japan.

“The majority of the public believe that there is no other option than to execute those who have committed brutal crimes,” said Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa during a news conference in Tokyo.

Polls have long shown a majority of Japanese people support capital punishment.

Kamikawa declined to reveal if any of those executed Thursday had been calling for the reopening of their trials, as has been reported by some media outlets.

Aum Shinrikyo split into three smaller religious groups after the arrest of Asahara. Local residents living around those groups’ facilities are worried, believing some of the followers still worship Asahara and the senior Aum members who were executed.

“The incidents that happened in the Heisei Era have finally ended. But for local residents, (their worries) won’t end unless (successor groups) are disbanded,” Hisashi Mizukami, 73, who heads a group of local citizens in Tokyo who live near the main office of Aleph, one of the successor groups, was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

Human rights activists argue that those calling for retrial should not be executed unless all pending legal processes have been completed. The executions immediately drew condemnation from activists calling for the abolition of capital punishment.

Kamikawa said that the Justice Ministry does not believe that an execution should be delayed because an inmate is seeking a retrial.

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has long called for the abolishment of the death penalty, arguing for lifetime imprisonment without parole instead. JFBA President Yutaro Kikuchi issued a statement on Thursday protesting Thursday’s execution.

“Criminal punishment should not be given just as retaliation but for something helpful in preventing the recurrence of a crime, such as achieving the rehabilitation (of a criminal) into society,” Kikuchi said.

Hiroka Shoji, East Asia researcher at Amnesty International, wrote on the group’s website, “This unprecedented execution spree, which has seen 13 people killed in a matter of weeks, does not leave Japanese society any safer. The hangings fail to address why people were drawn to a charismatic guru with dangerous ideas.”

Asahara founded the precursor of Aum Shinrikyo in 1986. Many members of the group were featured on TV shows numerous times in the 1990s to passionately defend the cult in public.

In March 1995, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas inside subway cars during Tokyo’s morning rush hour, killing 13 and injuring thousands. That was soon followed by a police raid and the arrest of Asahara at the cult’s facilities in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture. The murders highlighted the dangerous nature of the cult, some of whose members would be willing to kill if ordered to by Asahara.

All the trials related to members of the cult were finalized in January this year, causing the media and the public to speculate that the death sentences would be carried out shortly. – The Japan Times, 26/7/2018

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