PETALING JAYA: Almost half of prisoners facing the noose in Malaysia are foreign nationals, with Nigerians making up the majority.
According to a report released by Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM), 568 foreign nationals from 43 countries are on death row as of February this year.
Nigerians make up 21% of the foreigners on death row, followed by Indonesians (16%), Iranians (15%), Indian (10%), Filipinos (8%) and Thais (6%).
Almost 73% of the foreigners were given the deatch sentence for drug-trafficking crimes, while 25% were guilty of murder, according to the report released on Thursday (Oct 10), in conjunction with World Day Against the Death Penalty.
As of February, there were altogether 1,281 prisoners on death row, with 89% of them being male.
As for the 713 Malaysians on death row, 48% were Malays, 25% (Indians), 24% (Chinese) and 4% (other ethnic minorities).
The AIM report was based on data provided to them by official sources.
AIM executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said the death penalty was a stain on the country’s criminal justice system.
“Malaysia has a golden chance to break with decades of cruelty and injustice, disproportionately inflicted on some of the most marginalised, ” she said during the launch of the report.
She added that the government should abolish this “cruel and inhumane” punishment without delay as the system had many flaws.
In October last year, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the Cabinet had decided to abolish the death penalty with a moratorium for those on death row.
In March this year, however, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin announced in Parliament that the government was proposing to introduce sentencing discretion for 11 offences under the Penal Code and Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which currently carry the mandatory death penalty.
Meanwhile, MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) said it hoped the abolition of the mandatory death penalty was just the first step towards a total abolition of the death penalty.
They said the abolition of the death penalty would also eliminate the possibility of execution of innocent persons, which was a miscarriage of justice.
“The police, prosecutors, judges and even lawyers of the accused, all being human, are not infallible and could cause the wrongful execution of persons, “ they said in a statement.
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