Friday, March 02, 2012

move towards abolition [the death penalty] without infringing on Islam...

‘Knight’ Nazri all for abolishing death penalty

K Pragalath | March 1, 2012 
The minister also called for a mass movement against the capital punishment.

KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz called himself a “knight in armour” who is all for abolishing the death penalty.

But he said that he needed the support of all the other knights (MPs) to push for the removal of the capital punishment.

However, he added he supported the move in his individual capacity.

“As an individual, I am all for the abolition of the death penalty. We charge a person with murder because we don’t agree with the person taking a person’s life,” he said.

“If we don’t agree with taking a person’s life, what right does the government have to take a person’s life?”

Nazri was speaking at a debate on promoting the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia here.

The debate was organised by the European Union, the Malaysian Bar and the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

Malaysia is one of the 58 countries that still have the death penalty. There are about 700 death row inmates languishing in prisons in the country.

Mass movement

Nazri, who is also Padang Rengas MP, also said that for the death penalty to be abolished, there has to be a mass movement from the public against it.

He also urged the audience to move for a moratorium (on the dealth penalty).

“I hope one day the government will abolish the death penalty and I hope it is soon,” he said.

Nazri also told the audience that it would be easier to lift the death penalty by abolishing it in drugs and arms possession cases where the capital punishment is mandatory (upon conviction).

He urged the audience to persuade their respective MPs to call for the abolition of the death penalty.

“See your MPs… the voices of the people will be reflected in the MPs.

“While I say I can do it (abolish the death penalty), I still need the support of the MPs so that I can argue the case in Cabinet.

“I cannot suddenly go and say we need a moratorium. I am your knight in armour but I need the support of other knight in armours (MPs) too,” he said.

But, he added that the challenge was in convincing the Muslim majority.

Blood money

Referring to an earlier video presentation on the death penalty, he said that the Muslims are in favour of the death penalty because they believe in the proverb, “an eye for an eye”.

Nazri added that the proponents of the death penalty should convince the Muslims in (practising) the concept of “blood money” under syariah law.

In Islam, the way out is blood money.

He explained that the victim’s family would offer forgiveness in return for compensation.

“This way you can move towards abolition [the death penalty] without infringing on Islam.”

He said that this right to forgive should then be passed on to the government so that death row inmates can have their penalty commuted to life sentence.

Nazri also justified the government’s decision to deport Hamza Kashgari, a 22-year-old Saudi Arabian journalist who faces the death sentence after twitting some remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

Malaysian authorities deported him back to Saudi Arabia after he landed here on transit to New Zealand.

“We don’t need an extradition agreement with Saudi Arabia because it is only needed when there are contentious issues between countries,” Nazri said, who added that Kashgari’s action was also seditious according to Malaysian law.

Later, Nazri said that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was afraid after he stated his support for Israel’s security in an interview in the US last month.

“Anwar is like a devil: when he falls he pulls the others as well. Israel’s security is not issue, Palestinian’s plight is,” he said.

Following the interview, Anwar accused former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad of taking a pro-Israel stand in letters the latter wrote to the Israeli prime ministers.

Yesterday, the government released the contents of the letters addressed to Yitzhak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak.

Nazri said that as a former member of the Mahathir administration, he vouched for Mahathir’s consistent anti-Israel stand.- Free Malaysia Today, 1/3/2012, ‘Knight’ Nazri all for abolishing death penalty

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