Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Malaysia to abolish death penalty: minister

Mahathir Mohamad Mahathir Mohamad
Patty Aguilar | 12 October, 2018, 05:22

Bills to repeal both the Sedition Act and the death penalty are expected to be tabled before the parliament which sits on Monday.

"We are studying certain issues... we need to look into it and hear the views of all, but as it stands today, the decision is to abolish the death penalty".

Today, the European Union delegation to PNG joined other European Union missions around the globe to recall the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Since we are abolishing the sentence, all executions should not be carried out", The Star newspaper quoted him as saying.

"Today, I join fellow human rights defenders and the global community in renewing and sustaining the campaign against the death penalty", De Lima said in a statement on Wednesday.

The government's announcement was "an encouraging sign", Amnesty International's Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. There has been continuous calls by local and global NGOs like Amnesty worldwide and SUHAKAM (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) for such laws to be repealed as it has been subject to abuse by the executive power against its critics such as politicians who oppose the elected government, activists, journalists and even writers.

Regionally, only Cambodia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste have abolished the death penalty.

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"It is a right that belongs to us all regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity and expression, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, birth or other statuses", she said.

"Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens overseas", he said, referring to the hundreds of Malaysians on death row in Singapore and other countries, particularly for being drug mules.

"The death penalty will be abolished, full stop".

The moratorium on the death penalty affects, among others, two women accused of assassinating the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il previous year.

Amnesty International reported in March that 799 people on death row were convicted of drug trafficking, including 416 foreign nationals.

There were 993 executions recorded in 2017 in 23 countries, but Amnesty's numbers do not include the "thousands" it says are believed to have been executed in China, which classifies this information as a state secret.

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