Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern Deputy Home Minister Abu Seman Yusop’s statement in Parliament today that the government has no plans to abolish the death penalty - all the more shocking since it coincided with the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Oct 10.
The death penalty has no place in any civilised society that values human rights, justice and mercy. Malaysia remains among an ever decreasing small minority of countries that still provide for the death penalty. A total of 140 states have abolished death penalty in law or practice - more than 70 percent of the world’s countries.
Despite popular belief, there is no cogent empirical evidence to show that the death penalty is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment and thus no good reason to maintain the death penalty.
The death penalty is the ultimate human rights violation, a state-sanctioned murder, unique in its cruelty and finality. In the absence of a fair and just criminal justice system and access to competent legal representation, its imposition disproportionately affects the poorer and lower classes, and risks the likelihood of wrongful convictions. Needless to say, death penalty is irreversible and cannot be remedied.
Lawyers for Liberty therefore calls on the government, in line with the global trend and as member of the UN Human Rights Council, to immediately impose a permanent moratorium on all death penalty punishment and take urgent steps towards its abolishment.