World Congress supports Malaysian govt's courage to abolish death penalty

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 02 Mar 2019

BRUSSELS: A special resolution on Malaysia's decision to do away with the death penalty was adopted at the World Congress on capital punishment.

The resolution welcomed the government's decision to establish a moratorium and to do away with the death penalty.

"We express full support for the courage and commitment shown by the government to secure full abolition in national legislation at the next session of the Malaysian parliament.

"We look forward to Malaysia becoming an abolitionist state, joining the majority of UN member states by mid 2019," said the resolution which was read out at the closing of the congress on Friday (March 1).

The ceremony was attended by several European politicians including Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders.

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) coordinator

Charles Hector, who was among a number of Malaysians who attended the Congress, said that the abolishment of capital punishment has been dependent on the strong political will of the government of the day.

"It is a very proud moment to be a Malaysian when we see the world congratulating the government's brave decision to abolish the death penalty and join the civilised world," he said.

Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto, who also attended the congress, said the government must commit itself to fighting crime instead of ending lives and to uplift the socio-economic status of Malaysians as more than 80% of those on death row fall in the B40 category.

Hundreds of people later marched in the Belgian capital city to call for the end of capital punishment around the world.

As of 2018, 146 countries have abolished the death penalty either in law or practice.

One of those who marched was ex-death row inmate Ndume Olatushani who spent 28 years in prison before being exonerated from a crime he didn't commit.

"As an innocent man, having spent 28 years of which 20 was on death row, I know that the system can get it wrong," said the American.

Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) director Raphael Chenuil-Hazan said there was a long way to go for the abolitionist movement.

"There are so many lawyers and activist from different countries in the world who risk their lives to go against the death penalty," he said.

In October last year, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the Cabinet would abolish the death penalty, with a moratorium for those on death row.

As of Oct 2018, there were 1,279 people on death row, the majority of them who are there for drug trafficking offences.

Recently, Liew said a final decision would be made during one of the Cabinet's weekly meetings in March on whether to table a proposal in Parliament.

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