Malaysia: ‘Secretive execution’ must not go ahead

Malaysian authorities must immediately halt plans to carry out yet another “secretive execution” this Friday, Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International has learned that the Malaysian authorities plan to execute death row prisoner Chandran on Friday 7 February who has been imprisoned for murder for 11 years. 

“The execution of Chandran would be an enormous step backwards on human rights for Malaysia – the authorities must put a stop to these plans immediately,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Malaysia Researcher with Amnesty International.

“For Malaysia to try to carry out executions in near-total secrecy is shameful – the government is essentially trying to hide its human rights violations from the world. Chandran’s family was informed only yesterday, and they are at a complete loss as to what they can do.”

Against international law, Chandran’s death sentence was imposed mandatorily, giving the judge no chance to consider mitigating circumstances of the case. A review of Malaysia’s mandatory laws was announced in 2012. 

“What makes this even more shocking is that we had actually seen some progress on the death penalty in Malaysia over the past years, with moves to limit mandatory death sentences. But with yet another scheduled execution the authorities are undoing any positive steps taken, including the announcement of the legal review of mandatory death sentences,” said Galang-Folli. 

Executions have been carried out in Malaysia in a secretive manner, without prior or posthumous announcements. Transparency on the use of the death penalty is an essential safeguard in death penalty cases, as it not only allows for informed and meaningful debates on the issue, but also gives the possibility of appeals being filed to ensure that due process has been followed.  

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. The organization urges Malaysia to halt all plans for executions, commute existing death sentences and put in place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a first step towards abolition.