Minister: Putrajaya to abolish death penalty

Malaysian Government's plans to abolish death penalty could save Sydney grandmother's life

Liew Vui Keong informed the press that the Pardons Boards would be directed to study various applications death row (waiting list) convicts could be commuted or released.

Malaysia has announced plans for a new bill that could abolish the death penalty within weeks and bring in a moratorium on executions effective immediately, a move that could save a Sydney grandmother now facing execution for drug charges.

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Amnesty International also cheered the news, calling it "an astounding announcement".

Human Rights Watch hailed the "fabulous news", with its deputy director for Asia Phil Robertson saying the move would increase pressure on other countries in the region to follow suit.

The shocking but most welcomed news of Malaysia joining other countries such as the Senegal, who abolished the death sentence for all crimes in December 2004, Liberia in September 2005 and its colonial master United Kingdom in 1965 was indeed apt as 10 October is World Day Against The Death Penalty.

The moratorium on the death penalty would save, among others, two women accused of assassinating the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un previous year.

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"There is no time to waste - the death penalty should have been consigned to the history books long ago".

Capital punishment in Malaysia is now mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other crimes.

"We have seen actually, and also there are some movies about the fact that people who were sentenced to death were found, after 10, 20 or 30 years, that they were innocent", he said.

In April a year ago, Amnesty International ranked Malaysia 10th in the use of death penalty among the 23 countries that carried out capital punishment in 2016. The decision was welcomed by rights advocates, who said there was never any proof that mandatory death sentences deterred offenders from violent or drug-related crimes.

The PNG Government reactivated the use of capital punishment in 2013 after a spate of violent killings drew global attention. A total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, making up 2.7 per cent of the 60,000 behind bars. It is a celebration organized by the World Coalition Against The Death Penalty, a group made up of 38 human rights organisations, regional authorities, bar associations and trade unions.

The UN envoy noted the majority of executions today are carried out in China, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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