We recall the case of Chandran s/o Paskaran, who was convicted for a murder in 2003 and sentenced to death by the Johor Baru High Court in 2008. His execution scheduled for 7/2/2014 was known a few days before that date. This knowledge moved concerned persons and groups including the Malaysian Bar to do the needful to try safe a life. At the eleventh hour, compassion moved the Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan of Johore, who intervened and stopped the hanging of Chandran s/o Paskaran.
Then, in March 2014, we have the case of Osariakhi Ernest Obayangbon (aka Philip Michael), who was convicted of murder, and was alleged to have been on death row for 18 years, who was scheduled to hang on 14/3/2014.
Yet again, prior notice of impending execution moved people to action. The Government of Malaysia, and in particular Nancy Shukri, the de facto law Minister, and Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail, the then Attorney General, then acted to obtain a stay of execution. -MADPET:- WHEN PENDING EXECUTION IS NOT A ‘SECRET’, WE ACT TO SAVE LIVES – MINISTER INFORMS OF 2 WHO WERE HANGED IN 2014, WHICH WE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT.(1/12/2015)
Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali said he will propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped, so that judges are given the option to choose between sentencing a person to jail or the gallows. He said mandatory death sentences were a "paradox", as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals.
"If I had my way, I would introduce the option for the judge in cases where it involves capital punishment. Give the option to the judge either to hang him or send him to prison. "Then we're working towards a good administration of criminal justice," Apandi told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview. -A-G seeking to abolish mandatory death penalty
Malaysia: Stop execution of prisoner due to be hanged on Friday
Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu’s mother was today advised by officials at Taiping Prison, northern Malaysia, to visit her son for the “last time” and make arrangements for his funeral. Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu was convicted of murder, an offence which attracts the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia.
“Executing Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu would be a regressive step for human rights in Malaysia,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaign Director for South-East Asia and the Pacific.
“The mandatory death penalty is a clear breach of human rights regardless of the crime committed. The authorities must step in to prevent this brutal act taking place before it is too late, and instead commute Gunasegar’s death sentence.”
Amnesty International has consistently criticized Malaysia’s practice of “secretive” executions. Information on scheduled hangings is not made public before, or even after, they are carried out - contrary to international standards on the use of the death penalty.
Instead, Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu’s mother Nagarani Sandasamy today received a letter from Taiping Prison officials informing her that he will be executed “soon” and advising her to visit him tomorrow morning. The family was also advised to discuss arrangements to claim the prisoner’s body for his funeral.
Nagarani Sandasamy last visited her son a week ago, when neither were aware that the 34-year-old was scheduled to be hanged just a week later.
Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu was sentenced to death for the fatal stabbing of a man in Sungai Petani, Kedah state, on 16 April 2005.
“As discussions on abolishing the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia continue, the Malaysian government must immediately put in place a moratorium on all executions as a first step towards full abolition of the death penalty,” said Josef Benedict.
No information is made publicly available on individual death penalty cases in Malaysia, while families are often informed at the last minute that their loved ones will be executed.
Senior government officials recently said Malaysia was considering abolishing the mandatory death penalty, which is currently the punishment for crimes including murder and drug-related offenses.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.
The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
International law and standards prohibit the mandatory imposition of the death penalty as constituting arbitrary deprivation of life, as it denies judges the possibility of taking into account the defendant’s personal circumstances or the circumstances of the particular offense. - Amnesty International
Convict's family distraught over last-minute notice of execution
Its executive director Shamini Darshni said that the family of convict P. Gunasegar (pic), 35, was only informed on Wednesday that they should visit him for the last time as he would be executed "soon".
In the letter by the Taiping Prison’s Department, the family was also advised to discuss arrangements to claim Gunasegar’s body for his funeral.
"The mother, Nagarani Sandasamy had visited Gunasegar last week, and both were unaware that the 34-year-old was scheduled to hang just a week later,” Shamini said.
She told The Star that it was common for families not to be given a date, calling the practice "heartless".
Gunasegar was on death row for his role in the murder of B. Venukumar, then 24, on April 4, 2005.
Amnesty International stated its concern on Malaysia’s practice of “secretive” executions, saying transparency on the use of the death penalty was an essential safeguard in such cases, as it allowed for greater scrutiny and meaningful debate on the issue.
Shamini called on the authorities to stop of the execution and commute the death sentence to life imprisonment, saying that executing Gunasegar would be an enormous step backwards on human rights for Malaysia.
As discussions on abolishing the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia continue, the Malaysian government must immediately put in place a moratorium on all executions as a first step towards full abolition of the death penalty.”
In court documents sighted by The Star, Gunasegar was charged, together with J. Ramesh and J. Sasivarnam, with murdering Venukumar at a playground in Taman Ria Raya, Sungai Petani, Kedah.
Though the trio claimed during the trial that they had been attacked by a group, which included Venukumar and only defended themselves, the High Court found them guilty in 2011.
The decision was later affirmed by the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt or innocence of the individual, or the method used to carry out the execution.- Star, 24/3/2016