Friday, February 25, 2005

Mkini: Do away with ‘cold-blooded’ death penalty, govt urged

Do away with ‘cold-blooded’ death penalty, govt urged

Feb 25, 05 3:22pm

The death penalty imposed on the murderer of Canny Ong Lay Kian is just as bad and unacceptable as the crime itself, said an anti-corporal punishment group in a statement today.

“(Her) murder was indisputably shocking and barbaric. However, the death penalty to the perpetrator is just as barbaric and amoral.

“The death penalty is a glaring instance of state amorality and cold-bloodedness at its worst,” said the newly-formed Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet).

On Tuesday, the Shah Alam High Court sentenced 29-year-old aircraft cabin cleaner Ahmad Najib Aris to death by hanging for the rape and murder of the US-based IT analyst in 2003.

However, Madpet accused the state of being savage by imposing the death penalty as it “reiterates the very crime it seeks to mark as reprehensible and the solution it arrives at is thus inconsequent to the problem it addresses”.

“The state-sponsored extinguishing of human lives is not a solution to the problem of the crime,” said its coordinators N Surendran, Charles Hector and Salbiah Ahmad in the statement.

They argued that studies have consistently shown that there is no evidence that the death penalty effectively deters crime and furthermore, as the punishment is irreversible, the state runs the risk of executing innocent people.

“For example, since 1973, more than 100 condemned persons have been released in the US (United States) due to credible fresh evidence,” they added.

Malaysia has hanged 358 people over the past 24 years.

Suspend executions

Madpet claims that since 1976, at least three countries a year have abolished the death penalty and that as of today over half of the world’s nations have abolished the punishment.

“This worldwide trend towards abolition is reflected by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) resolutions calling for the suspension of all executions towards final abolition,” it added.

The UNHRC has, since 1997, passed a resolution calling on countries that have not abolished the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions.

The latest UNHRC resolution which was adopted in April 2004, was co-sponsored by 76 UN member states and recorded its highest support figure.

Urging the Malaysian government to support the growing global stand against the death penalty, Madpet has called on it to immediately cease the “brutal punishment”.
“We call for a suspension of all executions pending abolition of the death penalty. We call for this in the name of humanity,” it added.

Madpet’s calls are in-tandem with those made by international rights organisations such as Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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