The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has urged the government to review the use of mandatory capital punishment and for a halt on all scheduled executions, in light of concerns over the rushed execution of two brothers.
“Suhakam… urges the government to review the relevance and effectiveness of capital punishment and recommends that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put into effect,” said its chairperson Razali Ismail in a statement.
This, it noted was after the executions of brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai who were convicted of murder, which courted controversy after their execution was expedited.
This was despite an appeal for clemency which was still being deliberated by the Pardons Board.
Razali argued that the mandatory imposition of the death penalty violates the basic right to life, as enshrined in international human rights law, noting that it constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life.
He said that this also denies judges the possibility of taking into account the facts of the offence or the characteristics of each individual offender for the purposes of sentencing.
“Suhakam is of the opinion that the mandatory death penalty must be abolished so that judges will be given their discretionary power to decide on a sentence for a convicted person,” concluded Razali.
The brothers were supposed to be executed on Feb 24, but had their execution put on hold pending a last minute appeal for clemency and submission of evidence that was excluded from their trial, being submitted to the Pardons Board.
However their family was later informed that their execution will be this Friday and was told to meet the brothers for the last time.
But they were later told that the execution was inexplicably moved up to yesterday. The brothers were hanged at dawn on Wednesday.
Source : @ Malaysiakini