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Abolish death penalty for all, says Amnesty

 | October 25, 2012

Get rid of the death penalty altogether, not just for drug crimes, a human rights group said.

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty Interational has challenged the government to go one step further on its moratorium on the death penalty for drug pushers – get rid of the hangman’s noose altogether.

In a press statement, the human rights group’s Southeast Asia campaigner Hazel Galang said that the government needed to review all crimes that came with the mandatory death penalty.

She said: “Mandatory death sentences prevent judges from exercising their discretion and from considering all factors in a case, including extenuating circumstances.”

On top of that, she denounced capital punishment as “cruel and harsh”, contrary to international human rights standards.

Hazel was referring to a recent statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz, who said that he would notify Cabinet of a moratorium of all those convicted of drug-trafficking offences in Malaysia.

This, he said, was because the Attorney-General’s Chambers was studying the removal of the death penalty for drug crimes.

Those found guilty of drug trafficking in Malaysia are sentenced to death. According to Nazri, about 86 Indonesians and nearly 900 Malaysians were on death row here; many of whom were connected with drugs.

To this, Hazel said that those caught with more illegal drugs than specified by the law were automatically presumed guilty, which she said was a setback for fair trials.

Nazri previously admitted that the death penalty did not actually reduce drug crimes. He said that it punished only the drug mules and not the masterminds, and that it sometimes led reluctant judges to grant acquittals to suspects.


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