Monday, March 23, 2015

Johor Sultan mercifully commuted the death sentence of 11 on death row

Sultan commutes sentences for death row prisoners Monday, 23 March 2015 10:53am

JOHOR BARU, March 23 — For 12 long years Nagamah Doraisamy has led a life of pain and misery but today she can afford to smile a little.

On his coronation day, the Sultan of Johor has shown mercy to Nagamah’s 37-year old son, P. Chandran.

Chandran was found guilty of a crime in July 2003 and sentenced to death by the High Court here the same year.

Over the years, he had exhausted all avenues of appeal.

However, he and 10 other death row inmates had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment, which carries a maximum term of 20 years, while 13 others, whose cases were reviewed under the four-year review system, were granted a pardon and released from prison.

On Thursday, Johor State Secretary  Datuk Ismail Karim announced the decision of the Johor Royal Pardons Board, which met on March 5.

Chandran was due to be led to the gallows on Feb 7, 2014.
His family had been notified by the Kajang Prison Authorities when the Sultan intervened and granted Chandran a stay of execution on Feb 6,  seven hours before the execution was to take place.

But all the time, the 59-year-old Nagamah, a housewife and a mother of six, never lost hope.

She wrote to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and petitioned the Yang diPertuan Agong, asking them to spare her son’s life.

She and her lawyers, M. Manoharan and P. Uthaykumar, and her third son, Thamothar, 36, made the trip here from their home in Termerloh, Pahang, to the Istana Besar office on Friday hoping to hand over an appeal on Chandran’s behalf.

“I am very happy  today to learn that my son has been spared the gallows,” she told Malay Mail.

“I owe my deepest gratitude to the Sultan of Johor.

“He is a good man, he saved my son’s life and I really don’t know how to thank him.

“Chandran committed a crime and was found guilty but he will always be my son.

“He celebrated his birthday on Feb 13 and I will wait for him to come home and celebrate his birthday with us.

“I always think of him, and my hope is that I will live to see him released from prison.

“It has been very hard on me all these years, thinking about how he is coping.”

For Thamothar, Chandran’s younger brother, it was the best piece of news for the family.

“My mother is very frail. Maybe she will now draw strength,” he said.

“I have long accepted what fate is due for my brother.

“Our family only prays that he will be given a pardon in four years’ time when his review comes up for hearing.

“My mother will be the happiest person in the world.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Malaysian Bar Resolution on Royal Pardon and the Death Penalty

Resolutions Adopted at the 69th Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar Held at Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel (Saturday, 14 Mar 2015)  

Resolution 4

Motion on Royal Pardon and the Death Penalty”, proposed by Charles Hector Fernandez, dated 6 Mar 2015


(1)  Article 42(1) Federal Constitution provides that: ‘The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all offences which have been tried by court-martial and all offences committed in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya; and the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all other offences committed in his State.’  

(2)  Article 42(3) Federal Constitution also states that, ‘Where an offence was committed wholly or partly outside the Federation or in more than one State or in circumstances which make it doubtful where it was committed, it shall be treated for the purposes of this Article as having been committed in the State in which it was tried….’

(3)  Anyone can move the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State to exercise this power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites, including commuting the sentence of death.

(4)  Mindful that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable, and the other arguments that have been advanced for the abolition of the death penalty are good reasons why  the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State to exercise their powers to commute the death sentence to one of imprisonment.

(5)  In Thailand, Royal Pardon has resulted in 90 percent or more persons sentenced to death having their sentence commuted to imprisonment.

(6)  Information about the whole process of application for pardon is not easily available to the public. Neither are the principles or the considerations that are relevant in making or considering such application.

(7)  It is known that Malaysia has commuted the death penalty for some foreign nationals, possibly on the application of foreign nation states, possibility by reason of some diplomatic consideration. If there are different standards applicable for the commuting of the death penalty, then this will be considered discriminatory against local Malaysian death row inmates and those from less influential nation states. The statistics of persons whose death sentence had been commuted need to be obtained, and the reasons for this need to be studied, analyzed and considered.

(8)  On 18/12/2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a Resolution to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. This is the fifth time this resolution has been tabled since the first in 2007. 117 member states voted in favour of the 2014 resolution, indicating the continuing growing global support for the abolition of the death penalty.

We hereby resolve:

That the Bar Council do the needful to study, and increase awareness about all aspects of the procedures relating to the application for pardon.