Federal Court has rejected 19 out of 474 applications to commute death sentence

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Court has rejected 19 out of 474 applications it has reviewed from inmates on death row to commute their sentences, says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

"Their death sentences remained, among others, for those involved in murder with more than one victim or involving the murder of children," the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) said in a written reply in Parliament on Tuesday (June 25).

In her reply to Syerleena Abdul Rashid (PH-Bukit Bendera), Azalina said that a total of 936 applications for review have been made so far (with 474 reviews completed) made by death row inmates.

Syerleena wanted to know how many death sentences were reviewed by the Federal Court and how many death sentences remained between Nov 14, 2023 and May 31 this year.

ALSO READ: Law to abolish mandatory death penalty takes effect on July 4

On July 4 last year, the Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023 came into force.

A total of 11 offences, which previously carried the mandatory death sentences, came under the jurisdiction of the new law.

Under the Review of Death Penalty and Life Imprisonment Act 2023 (Federal Court Temporary Jurisdiction), death row inmates have 90 days to seek a review of their sentences by the Federal Court.

The Federal Court can revise death sentences and substitute them with life imprisonment – between 30 and 40 years – and between six and 12 strokes of the rotan, depending on the crime.

However, the death penalty can still be meted out, according to the court's discretion for offences such as murder, terrorist acts and hostage-taking.

Previous attempts to abolish the mandatory death penalty had been unsuccessful, although a moratorium on hangings has been in place since 2018 involving some 1,300 death row inmates.

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