State to decide on President’s ability to grant clemency to death row convicts

The state has been given the opportunity to respond over annulling the President’s ability to grant clemency to convicts on death row.

The High Court hearing gave the state the opportunity to decide over the matter of dismissing the authority given to President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik in accordance with the constitution.

The case submitted to the High Court states that the victim’s family has the power to pardon convicts in accordance to Islamic principles, while the death penalty can only be enforced with the unanimous consent of all heirs.

The case questioned why statements are taken from heirs if the President can ultimately decide on granting clemency to murderers, and that this could be considered as a violation of the rights given to the victim’s family.

The case states that article 268 of the constitution obliges all laws and regulations adhere to Islamic principles, while any law contradicting it will be void. It further states that under article 10 of the constitution, any law or regulation that defies the Islamic Shariah is forbidden.

Therefore, the case claims that the power afforded to the President to grant clemency is a violation of article 10 of the constitution. Furthermore, the clemency bill must not be a power afforded to the President under article 268 and that it must be annulled.

The case states that while the Maldives theoretically has a death penalty under Islamic Shariah, the last person to be judicially executed was Hakim Didi in 1953, who was executed by firing squad after being found guilty of conspiracy to murder using black magic.

State Attorney Usama Moosa said research has been conducted by the state and that the process is ongoing. Mossa added that because the case relates to capital punishment, the state had requested legal expertise from various persons.

Chair of the Judges bench Abdul Rauf said that the case is not specific to capital punishment but it relates to clemency.