EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 28/10/92
UA 255/92 Death Penalty 5 August 1992
MALAYSIA: Tan Bee Lee, female
On Monday 27 July 1992, the Supreme Court sitting in Kuala Lumpur rejected
an appeal against the death sentence imposed on Tan Bee Lee by the Alor Start
High Court on 7 July 1991.
Tan Bee Lee, a housewife, was found guilty of trafficking in 2.3kg of cannabis
in Kuala Muda Kedah.
All death sentences in Malaysia are automatically reviewed by a Pardons Board.
As Tan Bee Lee's case was originally heard by the High Court in Kedah, her
case will be reviewed by the Pardons Board for Kedah, which will pass it's
recommendations to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, King, who has sole authority
to grant pardon, suspend or commute the sentence. This is the last avenue
of appeal for clemency. To Amnesty International's knowledge, however, there
have been only two occasions when a Pardon's Board has commuted a death sentence.
The death penalty was introduced as the maximum punishment for drug offences
under a 1975 amendment to the Dangerous Drugs of 1952. In April 1983 the death
penalty for drug trafficking became mandatory when the Malaysian Parliament
further amended the Act and withdrew a judge's discretion to impose a life
term. Trafficking is presumed if the accused is convicted of possessing more
than 200 grams of cannabis, 15 grams of heroin or morphine or 1,000 grams of
Amnesty International opposes the death sentence 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: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters:
- expressing concern that Tan Bee Lee has been sentenced to death and that
she now faces execution as the Supreme Court has upheld this decision;
- stating Amnesty International's unconditional opposition to the death
- urging that the all death sentences, including that of Tan Bee Lee, be commuted
and that no more death sentences be imposed.
1. Head of State for Kedah