Among the 1,281 persons sentenced to death in Malaysia for hard drugs-related offences, the Amnesty International (AI) has identified 119 Nigerians among them.
The figure was contained in the AI report titled “Fatally flawed: Why Malaysia must abolish the death penalty.” The report also shows that the 1,281 death row inmates are detained across 26 detention facilities in Malaysia.
The AI report read: “As of 22 February 2019, 1,281 people were under sentence of death in Malaysia, held in 26 detention facilities across the country”.
44 percent (568) of the individuals sentenced to death are foreign nationals from 43 countries.
“Nationals from Nigeria made up 21 per cent of this group, with those from Indonesia (16 per cent), Iran (15 per cent), India (10 per cent), Philippines (eight per cent) and Thailand (six per cent) following suit.
“A significant 73 per cent of all those under sentence of death have been convicted of drug trafficking under Section 39(b) of the Dangerous of Drugs Act, 1952 — an extremely high figure for an offence that does not even meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’ under international law and standards and for which the death penalty must not be imposed,” AI said in the report.
The AI also documented the inhumane treatments triggered by the international human rights law and standards associated with the use of the death penalty in Malaysia.
Addressing the situation, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said; “Our research found a pattern of unfair trials and secretive hangings that itself spoke volumes. From allegations of torture and other ill-treatment to an opaque pardon process, it’s clear the death penalty is a stain on Malaysia’s criminal justice system.”
The Malaysian government had in July 2018 placed a temporary embargo on death sentences which allowed convicts to be free from it.
Although recently the government assured full removal of the death penalty in the future, the legislative arm of the Malaysia parliament is expected to remove compulsory death penalty for only 11 offences.
The AI has therefore called on the Malaysian government to revisit all cases of death pronouncements with a view to commuting the sentences and also completely scraping the law.