Death penalty violates right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment — Suhakam

MARCH 29 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (the Commission ) notes the execution of Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu, Ramesh Jayakumar and Sasivarnam Jayakumar on 25 March 2016 under section 302 of the Penal Code, read together with section 34 of the same Code.

The Commission expresses regret in this regard as only recently in November 2015, Minister in the Prime Minister s Department, YB Hajah Nancy Shukri announced that the Government was in the midst of finalising amendments to remove the mandatory death penalty in relevant laws. The Bill was expected to be tabled at the current (March 2016) Parliamentary session. Today, over two thirds of the world s nations have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

The Commission is concerned because the mandatory imposition of the death penalty violates the basic right to life, as enshrined in international human rights laws as it constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, as well as denies judges the possibility of taking into account the facts of the offence or the characteristics of each individual offender. Instead, each offender is sentenced to death regardless of any mitigating circumstances that may apply.

While discussions on abolishing the mandatory death penalty in the country continue, the Commission cautions that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable. Further, the rationale that the death penalty acts as a deterrent has been discredited and dismissed on several occasions.

The Commission therefore recommends that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put in place that will at the very least, contribute to the respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights in Malaysia.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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