The ICJ calls on the Government of Malaysia to stop the execution of death row prisoner Chandran, apparently scheduled to take place on Friday 7 February.
Chandran was convicted for murder and sentenced to death on 16 April 2008.
While the Government of Malaysia has not publicly released the date, according to the Malaysian Bar Council, his execution is planned to take place on 7 February 2014.
Despite the prohibition of mandatory death sentences under international human rights law, the laws in Malaysia maintain the mandatory death sentence for offences such as murder, treason and drug trafficking.
The Malaysian Bar Council, a partner organization of the ICJ, has noted that there have been several instances in the past when the Government of Malaysia indicated that it would review the mandatory death penalty, with a view to its possible abolition or the possible reintroduction of a discretionary death penalty. It has also indicated its intention of reviewing the penalty of death for drug-related offenses.
“Considering prohibition of the mandatory death penalty in international human rights law and the past indications made by the Government of Malaysia that it intends to review the imposition of mandatory death penalty, it is deeply concerning that it still aims to proceed with the execution of Chandran on Friday,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
In October 2013, Malaysia underwent their second Universal Periodic Review where it was urged by several countries to review the mandatory nature of death penalty, maintain a moratorium, and ultimately move to abolish the death penalty.
Malaysia is set to respond to these recommendations in March 2014.
The Malaysian Bar Council estimates that there are approximately 900 prisoners in death row in Malaysia awaiting execution.
The ICJ considers that the use of the death penalty constitutes a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
In addition to calling a halt to the execution of Chandran, the ICJ urges the Government of Malaysia to amend its laws and take steps towards the abolition of the death penalty in the country, including the implementation of a moratorium.
Emerlynne Gil, ICJ International Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia, t +66 2 619 8477; email: emerlynne.gil(a)icj.org
Craig Knowles, ICJ Media Consultant, t +66 81 9077653; email: craig.knowles(a)icj.org