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Malaysia announces end to death penalty for various crimes

Malaysian Justice Minister Wan Junaidi said the government is considering alternative punishments for 11 crimes so far punishable by capital punishment in order to reform the Penal Code.

Malaysia announced this Friday the abolition of the death penalty, until now it was automatically applied to several crimes, including drug trafficking and terrorism, with the punishment depending on the judge’s decision.

In a statement, Malaysian Justice Minister Wan Junaidi said the government was considering alternative punishments for 11 crimes so far punishable by capital punishment, in order to reform the Penal Code.

Junaidi added that the executive approved this legislative amendment after receiving recommendations from a special commission to study the death penalty, which is carried out by hanging in the country.

There are about 1,359 people on death row in Malaysia, but the country declared a moratorium on executions in 2018, although death sentences continued to be imposed.

In a statement, Asia Against Death Penalty Network (ADPAN) welcomed the Malaysian government’s initiative and said authorities should also work to protect “mules” (people who transport drugs) and other victims of the drug trafficking, as well as people with mental health problems, and support reintegration.

“The mandatory death penalty is not fair and prevents judges from having the freedom of sentence according to the situation of each accused”, defended the organization.

In Southeast Asia, the death penalty remains in place for serious crimes in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, where executions are carried out by hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection.

The military junta in Burma (formerly Myanmar), which has not carried out capital punishment for three decades, announced last week that it would execute four dissidents on death row, although it did not specify the date of the executions.

Source: With Agencies

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