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Authorities must end secrecy on executions, Amnesty International Malaysia says

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

Authorities must end secrecy on executions, Amnesty International Malaysia says

 

Amnesty International Malaysia condemns the execution of Ahmad Najib Aris who was hanged on Friday, 23 September 2016, after serving 13 years on death row for the rape and murder of Canny Ong Lay Kian.

“The death penalty is never an answer. Hanging a man for murder is not justice, it is revenge. We oppose the use of capital punishment regardless of the crime committed,” AI Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said.

While international law allows for the death penalty to be meted out for the most serious crimes, the lack of transparency on the use of the death penalty in Malaysia raises crucial concerns.

“International law and standards require that in countries which have yet to abolish the death penalty, the authorities must ensure that prisoners under the sentence of death and their families are given reasonable advance notice of the scheduled date and time of the executions. From AI Malaysia’s experience in dealing with imminent executions, families are only informed between 72 and 24 hours before. Also of concern is the authorities deliberately concealing or minimising public scrutiny over imminent executions.”

Transparency on the use of the death penalty is important to avoid aggravating the mental trauma of prisoners sentenced to death and is also a critical safeguard to guarantee their rights and protect them against unlawful executions.

“International standards on the use of the death penalty also set out that condemned prisoners and their lawyers be officially informed of the date of execution in sufficient time to take any further recourse available at the national or international level. However, we understand that lawyers in Malaysia are not informed of impending executions of their clients as case proceedings would have concluded,” Shamini said.

“There is no convincing evidence to support the argument that the death penalty prevents crime more effectively than other punishments including life imprisonment. Further, statistics from countries which have abolished the death penalty show that the absence of the death penalty has not resulted in an increase in the crimes previously subject to capital punishment. What does hanging Ahmad Najib really achieve?”

This is the fourth known execution in Malaysia. On 25 March 2016, Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu and brothers J Ramesh and Sasivarnam Jayakumar were hanged in the Taiping Prison between 4.30 and 5.30am.

“We believe that there could have been more executions but information on the death penalty is hard to come by as the authorities do not make public disclosures of hangings.

“Amnesty International Malaysia does not downplay the seriousness of crimes committed, but we urge the authorities to consider introducing more effective crime prevention measures especially when there is overwhelming evidence that proves that the death penalty does not deter crime.”

Amnesty International Malaysia calls on the Malaysian government to put a stop to executions by imposing an immediate moratorium. 

 

 

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organisation with more than 7 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organisation investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilises the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

 

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For more information or to request an interview please contact:

Santhosh Kannan

Communications Coordinator

Amnesty International Malaysia

+60 12 3322 761 or santhosh@aimalaysia.org

 

Director's Message

Greetings, Human Rights Champions!

Firstly, I would like to wish each one of you a belated Happy 2017 and Gong Xi Fa Cai on behalf of the AI Malaysia crew. I hope you have had an amazing start to 2017! Thank you, also, for the continuous support you have given us throughout 2016.

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