Halt Friday execution immediately, Amnesty International Malaysia says
(For immediate release)
Amnesty International Malaysia notes with extreme concern the imminent execution of Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu, slated to hang in two days on 25 March.
Should Gunasegar be executed, it would be another enormous step backwards on human rights for Malaysia. The authorities must put a stop to these plans immediately.
“Gunasegar’s mother received a letter from the Taiping Prison’s Department informing them to visit him tomorrow after 9am for the last time as he would be executed ‘soon’. In the letter, the Taiping Prison’s Department also advised the family to discuss arrangements to claim the Gunasegar’s body for his funeral,” Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni said in a statement.
“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.”
Amnesty International has consistently raised its concerns in relation to Malaysia’s practice of “secretive” executions where information on scheduled executions is not made public before being carried out, in line with international standards on the use of the death penalty. While the authorities have released overall figures on implemented death sentences periodically, no information is made publicly available in relation to the individual cases, nor is it known who was executed, when the executions were carried out and for what crimes. Transparency on the use of the death penalty is an essential safeguard in death penalty cases, as it not only allows for greater scrutiny to ensure that rights of those facing execution are fully respected, but also as it is the pre-condition for informed and meaningful debates on the issue.
Often, executions are arranged and families are informed to visit their loved ones on death row at the last minute – often just a day or two before the scheduled hanging.
“We call upon the Malaysian government to immediately halt all plans to execute Gunasegar, and to commute existing death sentences to life imprisonment. 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 recent months, the Attorney-General and the Law Minister have announced that the government was looking at abolishing the mandatory death penalty, currently the punishment for drug-related offences and murder, among other crimes.
“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. There is no tangible proof that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime,” Shamini said.
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.