Death penalty doesn’t deter crime, watchdog says after 38 lined up for gallows
PETALING JAYA, April 7 — The local chapter of Amnesty International reiterated today its call for Putrajaya to repeal the death penalty, insisting that the punishment is not an effective crime deterrent.
In its Death Sentences and Executions Report 2014 today, the human rights watchdog noted that at least 38 people in the country were sentenced to death and two executed last year.
It added that 70 per cent of the convictions were for drug-related offences.
“The death penalty is not humane, it does not deter crime.
“Malaysia uses the death penalty arbitrarily even for crimes that are not considered the most serious crimes by the UN,” AI Malaysia’s executive director Shamini Darshni told reporters.
Malaysia is among 22 countries that executed inmates on death row last year.
The group is running a campaign for Malaysia to be the 100th country to abolish the death penalty.
Fiji, the 99th country, abolished the law on February 13 this year.
Under Malaysian law, Shamini pointed out that death penalty is the mandatory punishment for crimes such as drug trafficking, discharging a firearm with intent to kill or harm, and murder.
Meanwhile, treason, weapons trafficking, burglary not resulting in death and kidnapping not resulting in death are among crimes that are punishable by death.
In contrast, the UN General assembly calls upon its member states to impose the capital punishment only for the “most serious crimes”, she said.
Malaysia, Singapore and Pakistan are the only countries that impose mandatory death penalty for crimes that do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Amnesty International’s report today also claimed that Malaysia executes people with mental or intellectual disabilities.
Shamini also pointed out today that Malaysia had rejected suggestions at the Universal Periodic Review to repeal the death penalty and voted “no” at the UN General Assembly’s 5th Resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
“Malaysia clearly violates international law as the the death penalty is still carried out despite the fact that some of these punishable crimes do not result in lethal or extremely grave consequences.
“Besides that, information with regard to the imposition of the death penalty is not publicly accessible.
“Amnesty International Malaysia still stands firm behind the abolition of the death penalty globally,” she said.