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EXTRA 68/91 - Malaysia: death penalty: Saad Othman

, Index number: ASA 28/013/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 28/13/91
Distr: UA/SC
EXTRA 68/91 Death Penalty 27 September 1991
MALAYSIA: Saad Othman, aged 42
On 18 September 1991, the Supreme Court in Kuala Lumpur unanimously rejected
an appeal against the death sentence imposed on Saad Othman, aged 42, by the
High Court in Ipoh on 30 May 1990. He was found guilty of trafficking 1,446
gm of cannabis.
All death sentences in Malaysia are automatically reviewed by a Pardons
Board. As Saad Othman's case was originally heard by the High Court in Ipoh,
his case will now be reviewed by the Pardons board of Perak. The board will
pass its recommendations to the Yang di-Pertuan Negeri (ruler) of the state.
Only the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia or the head of one of the
13 individual states has the power to grant pardons or to commute sentences.
In this matter the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Yang di-Pertuan Negeri acts on
the advice of the respective Pardons Board. This is the last avenue of appeal
for clemency. To Amnesty International's knowledge, there have been only two
occasions when a Pardons Board has commuted a death sentence.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The death penalty is provided for under a variety of laws in Malaysia and is
mandatory for some firearms offences, murder, and for certain drugs offences.
From 1985 to the end of December 1990, 84 executions took place to Amnesty
International's knowledge.
Amnesty International is opposed to the death penalty in all cases as
a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as proclaimed in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters:
- expressing concern that Saad Othman has been sentenced to death and that
the Supreme Court has upheld this decision;
- stating Amnesty International's unconditional opposition to the death
penalty;
- urging that the sentence be commuted and that no more death sentences be
imposed.
page 2, EXTRA 68/91...
APPEALS TO: (up to 15 per section)
1.
Ruler of Perak:
HRH Raja Nezrin
[Salutation: Your Highness]
Istana
Kuala Kangsar
Perak, Malaysia
Telegrams: HRH Raja Nezrin, Kuala Kangsar
Perak State, Malaysia
2.
Prime Minister
YAB Dato'Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad
[Salutation: Dear Prime Minister]
Prime Minister's Department
Jalan Dato' Onn
50502 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telegrams: Prime Minister Mahathir
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telexes: 30098 EPUPM MA; 30091 LARAS MA;
33099 PERMA MA
Faxes: + 60 3 238 3784; + 60 2 238 7214;
+ 60 3 238 7215
COPIES TO:
The Minister of Justice
YB Datuk Syed Hamid bin Syed Jaafar Albar
Ministry of Justice
21st Floor
Bangunan Kuwasa
Jalan Raja Laut
50506 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Faxes: + 60 3 293 4754
The Attorney General
Tan Sri Abu Talib bin Othman
Attorney Generals's Office
20th Floor, Bangunan Bank Laut
50350 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
and to diplomatic representatives of Malaysia in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 8 November 1991.

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