Death Penalty the ultimate denial of human rights


Press Statement: 30 March 2012

Death Penalty the ultimate denial of human rights

Human rights organisations all over the world continue to campaign for the abolition of the death penalty because no human being must be deprived of his or her right to life. However in Malaysia, the government still wants to retain the death penalty on the grounds that capital punishment is needed in law and practice to deal with serious offenses.

SUARAM, as a human rights organisation, condemns the position of Nazri Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister Department , who has constantly changed his view on the question of the death penalty. On March 1st 2012 he stated that he wanted the death penalty to be abolished and called for a mass movement of people to oppose the death penalty. However, yesterday (29 March) the Minister insisted that Malaysia still needs this punishment as a deterrent for serious crimes (The Malaysian Insider, 29 March 2012).

Most countries around the world have already abolished the death penalty. More than two thirds of countries around the world (141 in total) have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, with only 57 still retaining it. In January 2012, Mongolia became the latest country to pass a bill to abolish the death penalty,

Over the last three years, a large majority of countries have also supported a UN General Assembly Resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. In 2010, 109 countries voted for the resolution while only 41 voted against.

However several countries including Malaysia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and some states in the USA (most notably Texas) – still regularly put people to death.

In Malaysia, hanging has been used as the method of execution and the death penalty is most commonly applied in cases of:

  • Section 121 of the Penal Code: Waging war against the Agong.
  • Section 121A of the Penal Code: Crimes against any of the Rulers, that is attempting (or succeeding in!) hurting, killing or imprisoning them or their heirs.
  • Section 132 of the Penal Code – Abetting mutiny in the Armed Forces
  • Section 302 of the Penal Code – Murder, the first of the mandatory death sentences
  • Section 305 of the Penal Code – Aiding a person who is not (in the legal sense) competent in committing suicide, that is a child, somebody mentally ill etc.
  • Section 307C of the Penal Code – Attempted murder, if you’re already under a prison sentence of 20 years or more
  • Section 364 of the Penal Code – Kidnapping in order to murder
  • Section 374A of the Penal Code – Hostage-taking
  • Section 396 of the Penal Code – Gang robbery with murder
  • Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act – Drug trafficking, a mandatory death sentence
  • Section 57 of the Internal Security Act – Possession of firearms


Death Penalty the ultimate denial of human rights

The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice. It is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent. It has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments.

The world is moving towards abolishing death penalty. SUARAM believes the abolition of the death penalty will contribute to the enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights in Malaysia.

Therefore, SUARAM urges the Malaysia government to abolish the death penalty and to move closer to a death penalty – free world.


Released by,


Nalini Elumalai

Executive Director of SUARAM

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