Maldives must stop “retrograde” step towards death penalty: Amnesty International

Amnesty International has called upon the Maldives government to halt any plans to end the current moratorium on the death penalty, calling such moves a “retrograde step and a serious setback for human rights in the country”.

The statement follows Home Minister Umar Naseer’s decision to order correctional authorities to begin preparations for implementation of death sentences by lethal injection.

“There is no such thing as a ‘humane’ way to put someone to death, and no evidence that the threat of execution works as a deterrent to crime. Maldives should put an immediate end to such plans now, and instead abolish the death penalty in law once and for all,” said Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher Abbas Faiz

“The government’s order is surprising and extremely disappointing. The death penalty violates the right to life, regardless of the circumstances of the crime or the execution method used,” he added.

President Abdulla Yameen – on a state visit to Sri Lanka at the time of Naseer’s announcement – has subsequently promised “broad discussions” on the issue within his cabinet.

While death sentences continue to be issued in the country, these have traditionally been commuted to life sentences by presidential decree since the execution of Hakim Didi in 1954 for the crime of practising black magic.

The Maldives currently has 20 prisoners sentenced to death – a punishment the recently elected Yameen said he would support during his election campaign after a rise in the murder rate.

The most recent passing of the sentence came just days prior to Naseer’s announcement. Hussain Humam Ahmed was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali in October 2012. The sentence was handed down at the behest of Afrasheem’s heirs – permitted to request the death sentence under Islamic law.

Amnesty have pointed out that the apparent decision to resume the death sentence is in contradiction with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – a treaty to which the Maldives became a party in 2006.

Though Naseer noted that he intended to act “in accordance with international treaties we have signed”, Amnesty have stated that death sentences handed down to juvenile offenders are contrary to international law.

Speaking on Thursday, Naseer has stated that the order is in alignment with the draft bill on death penalty implementation which the state has made ready for submission to the parliament.

“We will not wait for laws to be drafted and passed. The law allows for implementation, and it is at the discretion of the home minister to order implementation,” Naseer said, adding that – should a relevant law be passed in the future – the state would then abide by the new laws.

The home minister noted that all appeals processes would be exhausted prior to implementation of the sentence.

Amnesty has suggested that the public interest might be best served by strengthening the judiciary in order to prevent human rights abuses during criminal proceedings.

In a damning 2013 report, Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers expressed concern over the failure of the Maldives justice system to address longstanding issues of corruption and human rights abuses.


7 thoughts on “Maldives must stop “retrograde” step towards death penalty: Amnesty International”

  1. Premeditated murder, must be punished. Seriously punished.

    I don't mind death penalty to those who deserve it. I don't care if that reduces crime or not. When a murderer takes an innocent life in cold blood, he or she does not deserve the luxury of life.

  2. The question is why we should kill a murderer, does it serve any purpose? If you kill the murderer the dead person will not come back, and if you want kill the killer to revenge, then we are also committing a murder. The most sensible thing to do is to prevent the murderer from another kill, so lock him up for life. To have laws to kill people seems too inhuman thing. Yes the family of victim would want to kill the killer of their loved ones for revenge but how many families can personally kill such people to take revenge; obviously most people would not have guts to carry out such killing. generally, people would hate such animalistic people and would definitely not want such people to be left live to enjoy the life but a government is not there to satisfy the desire of every individual citizen, Government is there to prevent and use sensible deterrence to stop violence and security of people in general and do everything to make sure no one else have such horrific fate. Even if you kill every murderer and still the government is unable to prevent killing then what luxury we have in terms of our own security.

  3. If proven beyond doubt, the murderer must faced the consequence of his action and should not be allowed to live freely in this world.

    We need to protect the rights of the victims and the family and society as a whole.

    Society comes first before the individual.

    Even last week , lethal injection was used to kill a murderer in US and there have been such cases of over 2000 last year alone in US.

    We can not keep feeding these murderer and provide all lavish life at the cost of state and such people need to removed completely.

    Amnesty only sees what is happening in a small country like us here in Maldives. Why they can not open their mouth against those country who practicing this already.

    So I guess amnesty can f--k off and we will have to carry on with our lives.

  4. It's interesting how even rationalists, liberals and humane humans let their emotions take over control and support capital punishment:

  5. What Hero conveniently forgets (or is paid not to talk about) is that the state of Texas and its execution has contravened several laws.

    I would also recommend Amnesty carry around anti-rape equipment as there is a clear and present danger of 'hero' losing it around Amnesty.


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