State seeks High Court ruling on President’s discretion to grant clemency in death sentences

The Maldivian state has sought a High Court ruling on the President’s discretion to commute death sentences to life imprisonment.

During a hearing on Monday in a case filed by five citizens seeking to annul laws granting the President discretionary powers of clemency,  the state attorney said the government would prefer the court itself provided a decision on the matter in accordance with Islamic Sharia.

The state attorney insisted that the decision be made by the court, despite the High Court Judges Bench emphasising that the state must provide an answer since the case concerned a constitutional matter.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer alleged that the state had previously been given a number of opportunities to be answerable to the case against them, and that it had used the excuse of conducting research as a bid to buy time, and waste the time of the court. He asked that the bench accept the state’s request and provide a verdict on the case at the earliest.

In the case’s last hearing held in November 2012, the High Court gave the state the last opportunity to be answerable to the charges against them.

Concluding today’s hearing, the bench announced that it will come to a verdict during the next hearing of the case.

The case, submitted in August 2012, seeks the annulment of Article 5(a.i) and Article 21 of the Clemency Act (2/2010).

Article 5(a.i) states that the punishment for the crime of murder cannot be pardoned, although clemency is allowed under restrictions stated in the Act.

Article 21 states that although it may have been stated otherwise in the Act, if the Supreme Court issues a death sentence, or if it backs a death sentence issued by the lower courts or the High Court, it is at the President’s discretion to grant clemency and transfer it to a life sentence with reference to the condition of the sentenced person, related legal norms, the interests of the state and the principles of humanity.

The case against the state asks for this annulment while referring to Article 10 of the Constitution of the Maldives, which states that no law can be enacted in the country which contradicts Islamic principles.

It then adds that according to Article 268, all legislation ratified in the country should be drafted within the principles detailed in the constitution, and that all laws and articles which do not align with this will be considered invalid.

The case, as reported previously by local media, further states that in Islamic Sharia, only the heir of the victim has the right to grant clemency or mercy to a murderer. It then states that a murderer can only be sentenced to death (ie gisas/retribution) if all heirs of the victim agree to it. It then goes on to say that neither the President nor any state institutions have the right to change a death sentence issued by a court of law.

It further states that should the President have it in his discretion to grant clemency in murder cases, this infringes upon the rights of the living heirs of murder victims.

It cited that the last time a death sentence was implemented in the country was in the year 1953, opining that although courts continued to sentence persons to death, “since then, the country has not had even one leader who has had the courage to implement this sentence.”

They case claims that the failure to implement the death penalty has “ruined this nation”, and that it infringes upon the citizens’ right to live, right to equitable treatment and right to travel among a number of other civil rights.

The case was submitted to court by five individuals; Abdul Maniu Hussain of Anbareege in Haa Alif Atoll Ihavandhoo, Hussain Shaheed of Baazeege in Seenu Atoll Hithadhoo, Abdulla Shiyaz of Naseema Manzil in Lhaviyani Atoll Naifaru, Abdulla Naseer of Boalhadhan’duge in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll Gahdhoo and Hassan Waheed of Rankokaa in Haa Dhaalu Atoll Kurin’bi.

Government in support of death penalty implementation

In October 2012, the government announced its intention to introduce a bill to the People’s Majlis in order to guide and govern the implementation of the death penalty in the country.

President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad at the time referred to the October 2012 murder of religious scholar and MP Afrasheem Ali and stated, “We are having enormous pressure since these high profile murders. We have indications – the talk around the town – that there will be more murders.”

He added that the government had received a large number of calls for implementing the death penalty.

Similar to the ongoing case, in April 2012, MP Ahmed Mahloof from the government-aligned Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), proposed an amendment to the Clemency Act to ensure that the enforcement of the death penalty be mandatory in the event it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

In December 2012, the Attorney General’s Office completed drafting a bill outlining how the death sentence should be executed in the Maldives, with lethal injection being identified as the state’s preferred method of capital punishment.

However, earlier this year religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf has called on Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor to amend the government’s draft bill on the implementation of death penalty, urging that convicts be beheaded or shot instead of given lethal injection.

The bill is currently pending approval by parliament, and has given rise to dissenting opinions on the matter.


10 thoughts on “State seeks High Court ruling on President’s discretion to grant clemency in death sentences”

  1. The COURAGE to implement deathsentence??? The SHAMELESSNESS, the CRUELTY, the IGNORANCE!!!

  2. If clemancy lies only with the family of the victim, the punishment is not about justice. It is about revenge. Is that something we want in our society? A penal code based on revenge rather than justice? I certainly don't.

    If there is even a 0.1 percent chance an Innocent can get executed, it should not be used. Barbaric thing to do to kill someone else. Innocent or not.

  3. The good old "no law contrary to" clause rears its ugly head once again. It's funny how that stupid clause was inserted into the Constitution by some mullahs and their sympathizers, but when it comes to implement it they hesitate. If they don't like that clause then remove it. Or else abide by it. By Shariah Maldivian mullahs don't want some academic Shariah which has been developed and fine-tuned from Mohammad's time to today. No, medieval Shariah is what these frustrated and brainwashed Maldivians want - they want revenge, vindication, blood, gore, entertainment, Game of Thrones, gladiator fights, Arab barbarism - so give it to them. Let's see if it will bring justice and how well they take it. Or whether it would just lead to international sanctions and unfair rulings (elite go free, peasants punished).

  4. to forgive is the right of the victim and his/her heirs. That's the islamic standopint. As for revenge, every punishment given for any crime is a sort of revenge. Suppose someone is fined for violating traffic law. But why fine if we will not have revenge? Even fine is a revenge. If it isn't then why bother punishment at all?

    As for the cruelty, ignorance, barbarism (and all other overused adjectives in conjuction with support of death penalty) these adjectives will not have any meaning if somebody actually is a victim. From the victim's standpoint the oppressor shall get maximum pain and punishment. From the perpetrators point of view, every human makes mistakes, so he is entitled to forgiveness. The islamic standpoint is the middle way here, giving just 'exact' punisment in proportion to the crime. An eye for an eye. Please don't get romantic over this. An eye for an eye is still not enough if a paatey gouges the eyes of your child. If that actually happened to you, you would want to gouge both eyes of the paatey, break his bones, fry him with oil, and of course put him on stake... That is if you love your children.

  5. We dont want to turn into Barbarians like the U.S who execute people !

  6. Hey human being! You are mistaking instincts with true love. I would not want revenge whatsoever!! And I do cherish my children. Speak for yourself please!

  7. an eye for an eye should be the spirit. i am in more favour that only the heirs of the victim are allowed not only to approve but also to practically carry out the death penalty. with such thinking i have flashes of vision ... sheela naj with a an axe over her head screaming mad chasin the lil Hana on Usfasgandu. OFF WITH HER HEAD whistles Maniku in encouragement. Cut Cut calls Faththah.. the director

  8. Liberalism is a religion by all means.It's prophets are the Deists-the founding fathers of America,European ocultists and most recently Timothy Leary who founded the sexual revolution and the hippie(psychedelic exprnce) culture.It is the religion with its foundations in the Wiccans(paganism,satanism) cox their princple is "as long as it harms none,do wat you wilt" a human instinct bron out of the love of ego and the world(wonders of nature) since the begining of human existence which the spiritual teachers of all ages in all countries fought against.They do have a God"the human self"- and a principle-"the law of attraction".but have refused to give the religion a name and have made a 'divine' invisible law within the scope of democracy which can be used to penetrate any culture,any nation and any people easily and controle the world just because they dont label themselves yet.Their greatest weapons are exploiting the concept of love to pursue their agenda at any given time and controling the mind of the masses by making irrelevant the Creator who is outside of all creations.The ancient teachings and wisdoms have been stamped upon and spcriptures forgotten.Thus we have the west where people suffer 24/7 from depression and survive cox of pubs and PILLS they can never get over and have become a daily routine.In short they have lost their souls and the civilization is in destruction(decline of europe).
    To quote the man(timothy Leary) himself
    "We saw ourselves as anthropologists from the 21st century inhabiting a time module set somewhere in the dark ages of the 1960s. On this space colony we were attempting to create a new paganism and a new dedication to life as art" ...

  9. Depression and drugabuse are as common in Male as in any other place! I admit, though, it has come with development...which was embraced passionately over the last 30 years!It is the love for MONEY and POWER which decreases the love for ALLAH!!!


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