14 March 2017
Amnesty International Malaysia has learnt that the execution of Rames and Suthar Batumalai which was initially scheduled for 24 February 2017 has now been set for dawn, tomorrow, 15 March 2017.
This news has caught the family by surprise, as they have only been notified of the executions via letter on 13 March 2017 that they are to pay their last visit to the two men on 14 March 2017.
Amnesty International Malaysia condemns the decision to execute the brothers, which seems to be made in a hurried and secretive manner.
“Malaysia carries out executions on Friday mornings and this double execution would be the first ever execution that we are aware of to take place on a Wednesday morning. This is symbolic of the rushed nature of this particular execution.” Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Amnesty International Malaysia’s Executive Director said today afternoon.
Rames and Suthar were sentenced to death in April 2010 for murder and the brothers have maintained their innocence till today. Amnesty International believes that the brothers were convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence alone. 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.
Amnesty International has been informed that a fresh clemency application has been submitted by their lawyer on 23 February 2017 and this has not been heard by the Pardons Board. This application includes a statutory declaration from the wife of the deceased, appealing to the Pardons Board for the brothers not be executed and instead be allowed to serve a life sentence.
“If the victim’s family has moved to intercept the execution, the Pardons Board should consider this and allow for every avenue to be exhausted before the State even considers taking a life,” Shamini said, adding that the death penalty could never be justified as a method of punishment.
Amnesty International Malaysia and the family of Rames and Suthar Batumalai be holding a candle light vigil in solidarity of the brothers at 8.00 pm tonight at the Kajang Prison Main Entrance, Jalan Sungai Jelok, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.