KUALA LUMPUR: The family of Chandran Paskaran (pic), whose death sentence for murder was suspended at the 11th hour yesterday, is asking for forgiveness from the family of the victim, K. Muthu-raman.
“As a mother, I understand that the victim’s mother must be going through a lot of pain, and she would wish for the punishment to be served. However, I hope she can understand my feelings as a mother, too.
“I hope she can forgive my son,” said Chandran’s mother D. Nagam-mal.
Chandran’s brother Thamotharan also apologised for the former’s actions.
“My brother is regretful.
“He cried (when we met him in jail) and felt sympathy for the family of the deceased,” he said at a press conference which was also attended by representatives from the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).
Currently held at Kajang prison, Chandran was sentenced to the gallows after he was convicted in 2008 for murdering 36-year-old Muthu-raman in 2003.
Chandran, then 25, and his 11 friends were in a gang fight that resulted in the death.
Chandran, who has been imprisoned for the past 11 years, appealed to the Court of Appeal in 2010, and the Federal Court in 2012, but they upheld the High Court’s 2008 decision.
His appeal to the Prison’s Pardon Board in 2012 was also rejected.
The Bar Council, as well as various human rights organisations – both Malaysian (Hindraf) and international (Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International) – have called on the Government to suspend Chandran’s execution or commute it to life imprisonment.
The family learnt on Feb 3 that Chandran would be hanged on Friday, and had spent a few hours with him on Thursday, said Thamotharan.
Along with Hindraf, the family made a last-minute plea for Chandran.
The family later got a call that night from the Prisons Department informing them that the sentence had been suspended, following intervention from the Sultan of Johor.
Meanwhile, Hindraf pledged to actively campaign on all fronts for the abolishment of the death penalty in Malaysia.
“We shouldn’t stop here. We have to carry on,” said Hindraf national secretary P. Ramesh, who added that there were around 900 prisoners on death row.
“Hindraf joins many others who believe in the right to life, and the need to abolish the death penalty.
“Every soul has to be given a second chance to repent,” Ramesh added.