Parliament today accepted the amendment presented by Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muthalib which requires the death sentence be implemented as execution if the Supreme Court upholds a death sentence issued by a lower court or if the Supreme Court itself issues a death sentence.
Out of the 59 present MPs there were 14 MPs who declined the amendment and three MPs that did not vote on either side.
MDP MPs Alhan Fahmy, Eva Abdulla, Hamid Abdul Gafoor, ‘Reeco’ Moosa Manik, Ilyas Labeeb, Imthiyaz Fahmy, Ibrahim Rasheed, Rugiyya Mohamed, Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed, Ahmed Rasheed, Mohamed Aslam, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and DRP MPs Ali Azim and Hussein Mohamed voted to dismiss the amendment.
Meanwhile MDP MPs Ahmed Easa, Ahmed Hamza and Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed were the three that did not vote on either side.
If the amendment is passed the president will not have the authority to grant clemency on those sentenced to death and law enforcing agencies will be left with no other choice but to execute those sentenced to death.
Statistics from the Criminal Court show that over the past 10 years, it has sentenced 14 persons to death which have not implemented. Police later arrested them for committing other offenses.
Before Muthalib presented this amendment, Maldivian Democratic Party MP Ibrahim Rasheed who also voted to dismiss the bill today presented the same bill weeks ago and withdrew it in the last minutes.
Rasheed said he will present the bill after some belated bills in the parliament were passed.
When presenting the amendment Muthalib said the objective of the amendment was to uphold Islamic Sharia in the Maldives.
Meanwhile, the Criminal Justice Procedure Bill presented by MDP Parliamentary Group leader Moosa Manik was approved by the parliament recently and has been sent to the National Security Committee to review.
The Maldivian judicial system defers to Islamic Shar’ia law in cases where existing laws and regulation are found not to apply. In an interview with Minivan News in 2008, Minister for Islamic Affairs Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari claimed that three crimes punishable by death under Islamic Shar’ia were murder, adultery (by those already married) and apostasy.
Critics of the amendment have pointed to the state of the judiciary as a reason for delaying the bill, with one judge last week acknowledging that 31 serving judges had criminal records. The judiciary has also been criticised by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), which questioned the independence of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).
The last person be judicially executed in the Maldives was Hakim Didi in 1953, who was executed by firing squad after being found guilty of consipiracy to murder using black magic.