The death penalty can be executed within the existing justice system of the Maldives, Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz has said.
Following the moment of silence observed outside the High Court on Wednesday afternoon in honor of the lawyer Ahmed Najeeb, who was found brutally stabbed to death this week, the Chief Justice told reporters that Maldives legal system is based on Islamic Sharia which allows the death penalty to be implemented.
Due to increasing criminal related deaths in the country, mainly due to the gang violence that expanded into an alarming level in the country, the public sentiment for implementing capital punishment is growing stronger.
Following Najeeb’s murder – the sixth homicide recorded this year alone – Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor, as well as and other prominent lawyers and lawmakers, have publicly endorsed their support for implementing capital punishment to deter increasing crime rates.
According to Chief Justice Faiz, each and every ruling of the court must be enforced for the country to see the effectiveness of the judiciary.
More than 10 people have been sentenced to death in the past decade, out of which none have been executed by the authorities tasked with the role, he observed.
For the past 60 years, the state has been commuting these death sentences to life imprisonment (25 years).
“The Maldives judicial system is constructed in a manner whereby another body is responsible to enforce the punishment once it is decided by the court,” Faiz explained.
“Not only in murder cases, but if all court verdicts on all crimes are properly enforced, we will see the [positive] outcomes of these verdicts,” the Supreme court judge noted.
A motion related to death penalty is currently being reviewed by the parliament which, if passed, will make the enforcement of the death penalty mandatory in the event it is upheld by the Supreme Court, halting the current practice of the President commuting such sentences to life imprisonment.