November 14, 2023 is destined to go down in Malaysian judicial history.
Because on this day, seven death row inmates and four life-sentence prisoners received commutations in federal court, and all 11 of them were sentenced to 30 years in prison. The 11 prisoners had previously been convicted of trafficking 93.7 grams to 50.65 kilograms of methamphetamine.
A three-member panel composed of the Chief Justice of the Federal Court Tengku Mairun, the Chief Justice of Malaya Tan Sri Zabidin, and the Federal Court Judge Datuk Noordin Hasan will hear the 11 prisoners to pass the 2023 review of the death penalty and Historical review application under the Life Sentences (Temporary Powers of the Federal Courts) Act (Act 847).
Give death row inmates a second chance
Decree No. 847 came into effect on September 12, and the complementary Decree 2023 on the Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty took effect on July 4. The former is retrospective and applies to defendants who have not yet been sentenced or who have not yet completed trial or appeal proceedings. This also means that if the defendant is found guilty, the judge can choose to impose the death penalty or alternatively impose an alternative sentence if appropriate.
As for the latter, federal courts are given jurisdiction to review the sentences of death row inmates who have been sentenced to death by courts and are now entering the non-judicial amnesty stage. In other words, the court can maintain the original death sentence, or give the death row inmate a second chance to escape death and sentence him to an alternative sentence of 30 to 40 years in prison. If the death penalty is not imposed, male prisoners under the age of 50 will also be sentenced to whippings of not more than 30 years. 12 times.
As of the 16th of this month, a total of 15 applications for review of the death penalty and 8 cases of life imprisonment have been brought to the Federal Court, and the court has made relevant review results after hearing the cases.
The Legal Affairs Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department cooperates with the Office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court, the Malaysian Prisons Service, the Ministry of Health, the National Legal Aid Fund, the Malaysian Bar Association, the Sabah Law Society and the Sarawak Law Society to coordinate the current 1,020 cases (inmates currently in domestic prisons ) review procedures. The Bureau of Prisons must submit a review application under the Review of the Death Penalty and Life Sentences (Temporary Powers of the Federal Courts) Act 2023 (Act 847) within 90 days, that is, before December 11 this year.
As Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Legal and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Azalina said, the abolition of the mandatory death penalty aims to cherish and respect everyone’s life, while ensuring that all parties, from murder victims to family members of drug trafficking cases, , are treated fairly and equally. She has repeatedly emphasized that this amendment to the law is not to completely abolish the death penalty, but to abolish the mandatory death penalty and give judges the discretion to impose sentences based on the circumstances of the case. In other words, its purpose is to find a middle way to safeguard justice in the world amid the controversy over the existence and abolition of the death penalty.
I was once a staunch supporter of the death penalty, but my trip to Germany in 2006 changed my stance on the death penalty. On that hot sunny day in Germany, when the whole world was going crazy for the World Cup, I had the opportunity to attend an international civil rights seminar, communicate with civil rights activists from all over the world, and examine multiple issues from multiple perspectives using objective data and historical examples. Civil rights issues, including the need for the death penalty. After listening to this, I have written many articles to comment on the stakes of the preservation and abolition of the death penalty system, and support the abolition of the death penalty.
Nothing is absolute
In any case, at this moment, at this historic juncture, looking back on the long march of abolition of the death penalty, there will be wind and rain, blood and tears… If there is any inspiration from the long march to abolish the compulsory death penalty, it is the importance of listening to one side to gain darkness and listening to both sides to gain clarity, and that nothing is absolutely impossible in this world.
Before November 14, 2023, how many people would have foreseen that death row inmates would defy all odds and wait until the Malaysian legislative and judicial institutions, whose political style is still conservative, would keep pace with the times and grant them a second chance?
(Guangming Daily/Commentary. Author: Xu Wensi)
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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