Historic day for human rights in Malaysia, says Azalina

PUTRAJAYA: Today is a historic day for the country as review applications by 11 death row prisoners to commute their death sentences and natural life imprisonment were heard at the Federal Court, says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (pic).

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) said this reflected the government's commitment to promote and defend universal human rights.

"The principle of restorative justice in the criminal justice system in Malaysia is always upheld," she said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 14).

After hearing the review applications on Tuesday, the Federal Court commuted the death sentence and natural life imprisonment of 11 individuals who were convicted of drug trafficking under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023.

Seven of them, including two Thai nationals, had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment of 30 years while another four had their natural life imprisonment sentences commuted to life imprisonment of 30 years.

The review applications were filed under the Act, which took effect on Sept 12, conferring the Federal Court with the discretion to review cases involving the death sentence.

According to Azalina, the Federal Court's Chief Registrar's Office had received 861 applications for the review of the death sentence and 117 applications for the review of natural life imprisonment as of Nov 9.

Nevertheless, she said the imposition of the death penalty for criminal offences still exists in the criminal justice system in Malaysia.

"However, the imposition of the death penalty is no longer mandatory as before, and legal amendments have provided judges with the discretion to exercise their judgment in imposing appropriate sentences as provided for under the law," she said. – Bernama

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