Crime & Justice

Malaysia scraps mandatory death penalty for crimes such as drug trafficking, terrorism

Bangkok, Jul 4 (EFE).- Malaysia’s repeal of the mandatory death penalty for crimes such as drug trafficking and terrorism came into effect on Tuesday, while activists called for a review of capital punishment sentences already awarded for these crimes.

The measure, bringing a reform in the country’s penal code, was approved by the parliament in April but came into effect Tuesday.

The legislature approved imposing sentences of up to 40 years in prison for crimes that previously would result in the death sentence as the only punishment.

Despite the reform, which paves the way for a hypothetical complete abolition, judges will still be able to impose the death penalty in cases they deem fit.

Rights watchdog Amnesty International welcomed the regulatory change which it described as a step towards the complete abolition of the death penalty.

However, the nonprofit underlined they were still waiting for Justice Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to announce the date for the start of the “review” process of more than a thousand prisoners on death row.

Malaysia has been applying a moratorium on executions since 2018, although death sentences continued to be imposed on 11 crimes, among them drug trafficking, murder, terrorism, kidnapping and weapons possession.

In May 2019, the three Mexican brothers Simon, Luis Alfonso and José Regino Gonzalez Villarreal, originally from Sinaloa state, were pardoned and extradited to Mexico after spending seven years on death row in Malaysia for drug trafficking.

Moreover, Bolivia’s Victor Parada Vargas, arrested for drug trafficking in 2013 in Malaysia and sentenced to death five years later, was also pardoned and repatriated in 2019. EFE


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