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Hasty execution amid talks on death penalty abolition criticised

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The execution of three men for murder this morning has been criticised by Amnesty International, especially as the government is actively discussing the abolition of the mandatory death penalty.

"The execution of these three men is a deeply sad development and an unspeakably brutal act that brings shame upon Malaysia.

"The fact that these state killings come at a time when the Malaysian government is actively discussing abolition of the mandatory death penalty makes them all the more shocking and disturbing," Amnesty International campaigns director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said in a statement today.

He pointed out that neither the family or the prisoners knew that their last two appeals had been rejected and the notification of the imminent executions barely allowed the families time for a final visit.

This morning, Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu and brothers Ramesh Jayakumar and Sasivarnam Jayakumar were executed at Taiping prison at 5.30am, despite international outcry.

"These hangings are a sickening reminder that the Malaysian authorities must redouble their efforts to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty," Benedict said.

Yesterday, the Malaysian Bar said the planned executions of the three convicts should be halted pending a review on death penalty.

“It is unfair and unjust to carry out the death sentence when there is currently a possibility of reform which, if put into effect, should apply retrospectively,” Bar president Steven Thiru had said.

Last November, attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri had said that legislative reforms to review the mandatory death penalty would be introduced in Parliament in March this year.

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