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After Malaysia hanged three men for murder on Friday morning local time, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said:

“The execution of these three men is a deeply sad development and an unspeakably brutal act that brings shame upon Malaysia. Neither the family nor the prisoners had a clue that their last two appeals had been rejected and the notification of the imminent executions barely allowed the families time fora final visit. 

“The fact that these state killings come at a time when the Malaysian government is actively discussing abolition of the mandatory death penalty makes them all the more shocking and disturbing.”

“These hangings are a sickening reminder that the Malaysian authorities must redouble their effortsto establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.” 

Despite international outcry, Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu and brothers Ramesh Jayakumar and Sasivarnam Jayakumar were executed at Taiping Prison in northern Malaysia at 5:30am on Friday.

Background

The Malaysian authorities rarely make public announcements before or after executions are carried out, nor do they make available information on the use of the death penalty on a regular basis. The families of prisoners under sentence of death are often informed at the last minute that their loved ones will be executed. In October last year, the Prison Department stated publicly that 33 executions carried out between 1998 and 2015, but no information was made available when these were carried out and in which cases. Amnesty International has been regularly receiving reports of executions being carried out which the organization could not independently verify. 

Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali and Nancy Shukri, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, announced on 13 and 17 November, respectively, that legislative reforms to review the mandatory death penalty would be introduced in Parliament in March 2016. The proposed reforms were first announced in October 2012. The mandatory death penalty is currently retained for offences including murder and drug trafficking.

As of today, 102 countries have fully abolished the death penalty and 140 countries in total are abolitionist in law or practice. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.