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Drug-related executions on hold

 | October 24, 2012

Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz says this is because the Attorney-General's Chambers is looking into abolishing the death penalty when it comes to drugs.

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR: No executions will be carried out on drug mules and traffickers imprisoned here until the government finishes a study abolishing the death penalty applicable to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said the Attorney-General’s Chambers was currently studying the possibility of removing the death penalty for those found guilty under Section 39B of that law.

“Because we are doing this study, I will bring this to the Cabinet to ask for a moratorium on capital punishments until we finish our study for the possibility of abolishing the death penalty under the DDA,” he said.

Nazri said this after revealing that 86 Indonesians were on death row here, with 75 convicted under the Dangerous Drugs Act.

He later added that nearly 900 Malaysians here were sentenced to death, with a large majority also found guilty under this law.

Earlier, he met with Indonesian MPs in Parliament today, who raised concerns over their 2.4 million citizens currently residing in Malaysia.

Section 39B of the DDA states that anyone who traffics, offers to, or prepares the act of when it comes to dangerous drugs would be given the death penalty.

Speaking to reporters, Nazri said that various factors contributed to the present government view on capital punishment.

He admitted that the death penalty did not actually reduce drug crimes in Malaysia. Instead, he said that it only punished drug mules and not the barons themselves.

“Most of the people whom we hanged in the past were just footsoldiers. One footsoldier dies, and another 10 will take his place. You keep hanging footsoldiers, whereas their bosses are somewhere in the Mediterranean or the Carribean enjoying their life from their ill-gotten earnings,” he said.

Nazri said that the death penalty was easier to look into when it came to drugs, adding that it was not “proportionate” to execute someone for merely being in possession of drugs.

Murder a different matter

Murder, on the other hand, he said, was a different matter, and needed public engagement as there were some who may have still preferred the “eye-for-an-eye” punishment.

Nazri said that there were also some judges who were reluctant to pass the death penalty on drug traffickers, leading to the acquittal of some.

Lastly, he said that if Malaysia still hung on to the death penalty, it would make it difficult for the government to appeal for leniency over its citizens imprisoned overseas.

“How are we going to appeal for leniency when we hang them if they committ [these crimes] in our country?” he said.

He added that there was one Malaysian on death row in Indonesia, with another four under investigation for drug-related offences.

According to a New Straits Times report, about 2,500 Malaysians were detained in foreign prisons as of June this year. A majority of them (1,096) were in Singapore.


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