Malaysia ranked tenth in use of death penalty, says Amnesty International

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia was ranked 10th in the use of the death penalty among 23 countries where executions were recorded last year, said Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM).

With nine executions in 2016, Malaysia is among  23 countries that executed 1,032 people globally. This excludes China, which Amnesty International believes executes thousands of people yearly. 

Malaysia executed six people in 2014 and one person in 2015.

AIM executive director K. Shamini (pic) noted that the number of executions carried out last year was a considerable increase from previous years. 

"Malaysia is in the minority by continuing to execute people. While the world is moving away from capital punishment, Malaysia is holding on to an archaic method of punishment with no proven deterrent effect," she said during the launch of the organisation's Death Sentences and Executions Report 2016 on Tuesday.

The report showed that executions at the global level had decreased 37% from a historical high of 1,634 executions in 2015.

New death sentences, however, increased in 2016 to 3,117 compared with 1,998 the previous year.

Most executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan said the report.

Shamini also called on the Government to be more transparent in the use of the death penalty.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told parliament last month that 1,122 prisoners were on death row nationwide as of Feb 21. 

The Cabinet also agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion when sentencing instead of requiring them to impose the mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said stated that the review would enable judges to mete out suitable sentences in marginal cases where offenders could be given jail terms.

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