2 - In Malaysia, many laws provide for mandatory death, and thus judges are deprived of the right to choose appropriate sentences depending of the circumstances of each case. To put a person to death is onerous responsibility placed on judges. Even, if death penalty is to remain in our laws, it should be left to the judges as an option to be used in the most extreme cases. In Malaysia, time and time again, we have been proven that our criminal justice system, and police investigation quality are with flaws, and it is great wrong if by reason of this we send some 'innocent' person to his death. When a State kills, it kills on behalf of its citizens and all Malaysians are responsible for the death.
3 - What is most disturbing, is that some of these laws that impose the death penalty, are laws that rely on presumptions in law - not the usual requirements that prosecution have to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of the particular crime. Example, found in possession of a certain amount of drugs raises the presumption that one is a 'drug trafficker', and then the accused have to prove that he/she is not, and that is very difficult to do. Someone puts 5 kilos of heroin in your house, and calls the police who come search and find the heroin - how can you(a lay person) prove that it was not your drugs, and that you were not the trafficker. And when you cannot prove this, you are found guilty and sentenced to death.
EMBARGO: 28 March 2011 00:01 GMT
Death Penalty in 2010: Executing countries left isolated after decade of progress
Countries which continue to use the death penalty are being left increasingly isolated following a decade of progress towards abolition, Amnesty International has said today in its new report Death Sentences and Executions in 2010.
A total of 31 countries abolished the death penalty in law or in practice during the last 10 years but China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the USA and Yemen remain amongst the most frequent executioners, some in direct contradiction of international human rights law.
The total number of executions officially recorded by Amnesty International in 2010 went down from at least 714 people in 2009 to at least 527 in 2010. China is believed to have executed thousands in 2010 but continues to maintain its secrecy over its use of the death penalty.
“The minority of states that continue to systematically use the death penalty were responsible for thousands of executions in 2010, defying the global anti-death penalty trend,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“While executions may be on the decline, a number of countries continue to pass death sentences for drug-related offences, economic crimes, sexual relations between consenting adults and blasphemy, violating international human rights law forbidding the use of the death penalty except for the most serious crimes,” said Salil Shetty.
Two regions are responsible for most executions worldwide: Asia and the Middle East.
China used the death penalty in 2010 against thousands of people for a wide range of crimes that include non-violent offences and after proceedings that did not meet international fair trial standards.
A significant proportion of the executions or death sentences recorded in 2010 in China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Malaysia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were for drug-related offences.
Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates ignored international prohibitions in 2010 and imposed death sentences on individuals that were below 18 years of age when the crimes were committed.
Amnesty International’s report highlights a number of set backs during 2010 when six other countries and territories carried out executions after a hiatus and one country expanded the scope of the death penalty.
“In spite of some set backs, developments in 2010 brought us closer to global abolition. The President of Mongolia announced a moratorium on the death penalty, an important first step as capital punishment is still classified as state secret. For the third time and with more support than ever before, the UN General Assembly called for a global moratorium on executions” said Salil Shetty.
Since 2003, less than half of retentionist countries have carried out executions. Less than a third were known to have executed prisoners every year over the last four years.
“Any country that continues to execute is flying in the face of the fact that both human rights law and UN human rights bodies consistently hold that abolition should be the objective.”
“A world free of the death penalty is not only possible, it is inevitable,” said Salil Shetty. “The question is how long will it take?”
§ In the USA, the only country in the Americas to carry out executions, at least 110 death sentences were imposed during 2010 but this represents only about a third of the number handed down in the mid-1990s. And in March 2011, Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty.
§ In 2010 Amnesty International was not able to confirm comprehensive figures on the use of the death penalty for China, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore and Viet Nam although executions were known to have been carried out in all these countries. Available information from five other countries in the region confirmed at least 82 executions were carried out in Asia.
§ Eleven countries imposed death sentences but continued not to carry out executions in 2010: Afghanistan, Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
§ The Pacific Islands remained free from death sentences and executions.
§ In January 2010 the President of Mongolia announced a moratorium on executions with a view to abolition of the death penalty.
Europe and Central Asia
§ After a year’s hiatus in 2009 when for the first time no executions were recorded in Europe and the former Soviet Union, in March 2010 the Belarusian authorities carried out two executions. Three new death sentences were imposed in Belarus in 2010.
Middle East and North Africa
§ Fewer death sentences and executions were recorded in total in the Middle East and North Africa in 2010 than in 2009. However, where the death penalty was imposed it was frequently used after unfair trials and for offences, such as drug-trafficking or adultery, which are not recognized as the “most serious crimes” and therefore in violation of international law.
§ The authorities of Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco/Western Sahara, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates imposed death sentences but continued to refrain from carrying out executions.
§ The Iranian authorities acknowledged the execution of 252 people, including five women and one juvenile offender in 2010. Amnesty International received credible reports of more than 300 other executions which were not officially acknowledged, mostly in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad. Most were of people convicted of alleged drugs offences. Fourteen people were publicly executed. Death sentences continued to be imposed in large numbers.
§ In 2010 one more African country, Gabon, abolished the death penalty, bringing the number of abolitionist countries among African Union members to 16.
§ Four countries were known to have executed in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010: Botswana (1), Equatorial Guinea (4), Somalia (at least 8) and Sudan (at least 6).
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: email@example.com
International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK
22/12/2010 :- The 2010 , the United Nations General Assembly resolution in favour of a universal moratorium on the death penalty : 108 countries voted in favour, with 41 against and 36 abstentions.
2008 resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted,on December 18, 2008, by a recorded vote of 106 in favour to46 against, with 34 abstentions
2007 resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty (document A/62/439/Add.2) was adopted, on adopted, on December 18, 2007, ;by a recorded vote of 104 in favour to 54 against, with 29 abstentions
The Malaysian Bar also has called for the abolition of the death penalty.
RESOLUTION OF THE MALAYSIAN BAR FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY(which was adopted at the 60th AGM of the Malaysian Bar on 18/3/2006)
WHEREAS every human being has the inherent right to life;
WHEREAS Malaysia has hanged at least 358 persons between 1981 and 2005;
WHEREAS about 173 persons are on death row as at December 2005;
WHEREAS :a) studies conducted throughout the world over the past seventy years have failed to find convincing evidence that capital punishment is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment;
b) studies conducted in Australia show that abolition of the death penalty had no effect on the homicide rate and in Canada there in fact was a sharp decline in the homicide rate after abolition;
c) in the United States over the past twenty years, states with the death penalty in general have had a higher homicide rate than states without the death penalty;WHEREAS on the other hand the execution of human beings by the State gives an ‘example of barbarity’ to society and legitimizes the taking of human life;WHEREAS Malaysia lacks safeguards that would ensure a fair trial such as the right to immediate access to a lawyer upon arrest, right to full disclosure of evidence in the possession of the police and prosecution, and has to the extreme prejudice of accused persons loaded a capital crime statute such as the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 ( which generates the largest number of death sentences annually ) with presumptions of trafficking that compromise the presumption of innocence which is integral to any fair and just criminal justice system;
WHEREAS:a) it is not possible in any system of human justice to prevent the horrifying possibility of the execution of innocent persons; and
b) the infliction of the death penalty makes wrongful convictions irreversible;
WHEREAS :a) 122 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice as opposed to 74 countries which retain the death penalty;
b) An average of three countries have abolished the death penalty each year over the last decade;
c) the trend worldwide has been for the abolition of the death penalty;
WHEREAS the UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2005/59 passed in 2005 calls upon all states to abolish the death penalty and states that the abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of the right to life of every human being;
WHEREAS Article 1 of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that ‘ No one within the jurisdiction of a State party to the present Optional Protocol shall be executed ’.
WHEREAS the death penalty has no place in any society which values human rights, justice and mercy;
NOW IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the Malaysian Bar calls for the:1) Abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia;2) An immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition;3) Commutation of the sentences of all persons currently on death row;4) Ratification by Malaysia of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Proposers: N.Surendran , Charles Hector , Amer Hamzah Arshad, Sreekant Pillai* the facts and statistics relied on here are from Professor Roger Hood’s The Death Penalty( A Worldwide Perspective) OUP 2002, Amnesty International and statistics released by the Government of Malaysia.
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty) has repeatedly called for the abolition of the death penalty..
One of the reasons used often by governments, including the Malaysian government, to justify the mandatory death penalty is that deters serious crimes. This was what Datuk M. Kayveas, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department told Parliament. (Bernama, 28/6/2006) This is baseless and cannot be justified by any facts or statistical proof.
On the other hand, there are studies conducted throughout the world over the past seventy years using various different methodological approaches that have failed to find convincing evidence that capital punishment is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment.
Studies conducted in Australia show that abolition of the death penalty had no effect on the homicide rate and in Canada there in fact was a sharp decline in the homicide rate after abolition;
In the United States over the past twenty years, states with the death penalty in general have had a higher homicide rate than states without the death penalty;
The United Nations itself noted in 1988, 1996, and 2002, "research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis."
Noting also that on 18 December 2007, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty" by an overwhelming majority (Resolution 62/149), and on 18 December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with a bigger majority a second similar resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
MADPET calls for the repeal of all provisions in law that provide for the mandatory death penalty.
MADPET reiterates its call for an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition, and for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia . - MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY PROVISIONS IN LAW SHOULD BE REPEALED
Besides, civil societies and NGOs, Malaysians generally is for the abolition of the death penalty
It must also be pointed out that a television poll done by RTM 2 during the Hello on Two programme on 7/5/2006 showed that 64% of Malaysians are for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia. This program has an estimated audience of 80,000. It is thus important that members of Parliament, the representatives of the people respond to the aspirations of Malaysians and remove the death penalty from the laws of Malaysia. - MADPET: REMOVE DEATH PENALTY FROM ALL MALAYSIAN LAWS
See earlier posts:-