Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai have less than 12 hours before they face the noose if the authorities do not stop the execution in view of a pending clemency application.
The clemency application was submitted to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board today by Haresh Mahadevan & Co, and it must be given time to review the application. The executions must not go on, Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said tonight. No executions must be carried out while appeals are pending.
“Late last night, we learned that Rames and Suthar were scheduled to be executed in Kajang Prison on Friday morning, which mean they have less than 12 hours to live now. The family is distraught and are appealing to the Yang Di Pertuan Negri Sembilan to spare their lives. ,” she said.
The family of Rames, 44, and Suthar, 39, was only informed yesterday that they should visit the brothers for the last time today ahead of their execution “soon”. Amnesty International sighted the letter.
Rames and Suthar were mandatorily sentenced to death in April 2010 under Section 302 of the Penal Code after they were found guilty of a murder committed on 4 February 2006. On 22 February 2017 the pair was moved from their separate detention facilities to Kajang prison where the executions are set to take place tomorrow. International law prohibits the use of the mandatory death penalty.
“The death penalty can never be justified regardless of the crime committed. The authorities must immediately take a step to prevent this double execution,” Shamini said.
Amnesty International believes that the brothers, who were represented at trial by the same lawyer, were convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence alone. During the trial they claimed that they had intervened to stop two other men from attacking and killing the deceased, claims which were disregarded by the High Court. The Court also failed to call a key witness, the deceased’s wife, to testify. Her testimony could have corroborated the brothers’ version of the facts and the involvement of the two other men in the murder.
“The 1984 UN Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty provide that the death penalty be imposed ‘only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts’ and this has not been made clear in this instance.”
Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action to its global network to intervene on the executions and is also appealing to the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan state to stop the execution.
The secretive nature of executions in Malaysia has been consistently criticised by Amnesty International. Information is hardly made publicly available on individual death penalty cases and families are often informed merely days before that their loved ones will be executed.
“The lack of transparency around executions in Malaysia is a violation of international law and standards. Families must have sufficient time to prepare for the last visit and take any further recourse available at the national or international level.” Shamini said.
There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect on crime.
“Amnesty International Malaysia does not downplay the seriousness of crimes committed, but we urge the authorities to consider introducing more effective crime prevention measures that respect human rights instead of continuously using one that has no merit.
Amnesty International Malaysia calls on the Malaysian government to put a stop to the double execution and impose a moratorium on executions immediately with a view to full abolition