Friday, November 15, 2002

M'sia debates death sentence for child rapists

M'sia debates death sentence for child rapists

Nov 15, 02 03:01am

The cabinet is expected to accept a proposal calling for the death penalty for child rapists later this month, local media reported today.

"It is very likely that the proposal will be accepted," Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Rasi Yatim, was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

The cabinet is scheduled to discuss the planned legislation in two weeks time.

The death-sentence proposal comes amid public outrage over the rape and murder of a two-year-old girl in Kedah two weeks ago.

The body of two-year-old Siti Nurliyana Shamimi was found in a river 500 metres from her parents' house.

Widespread support

Rais said there was widespread support for the the death sentence for child rapists, which was also backed by the Women and Family Development Ministry.

"Even if the young girl doesn't die as a result of her physical injuries, it amounts to the same thing. As such the strong calls to impose the death sentence ... will almost certainly be acknowledged by the government," The Star quoted Rais as saying.

However, some women's groups here have criticised the proposal, saying a death sentence would not address the issue and would only deter victims from making a police report.

Under existing laws, convicted rapists face a jail term of not less than five years and not more than 20 years, and the offenders are also liable to be whipped.— AFP

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