Impose a permanent moratorium on death penalty in order to extradite Sirul from Australia
Press Statement
27 January 2015

In light of the death penalty controversy surrounding Australia’s inability to extradite convicted killer Sirul Azhar Umar to Malaysia unless there is written assurance from the Malaysian government not to subject him to the death penalty as per the Australia-Malaysia Extradition Treaty, Lawyers for Liberty calls upon the Malaysian government to take the golden opportunity to re-evaluate the death penalty as a mode of punishment.
The death penalty has no place in any civilised society that values human rights, justice and mercy. It is the ultimate human rights violation, a state-sanctioned murder, unique in its cruelty and finality. In the absence of a fair and just criminal justice system and access to competent legal representation, the death penalty disproportionately affects the poorer and lower classes, and risks the likelihood of wrongful convictions. Needless to say, death penalty is irreversible and cannot be remedied.
Malaysia remains among an ever decreasing small minority of countries that still provide for the death penalty. A total of 137 states have abolished the death penalty in law or practice i.e. more than 70 per cent of the total number of states in the world.
In December 2014, a record number of countries, 117 of the UN’s 193 member states supported a key UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty globally.
Despite popular belief, there is no cogent empirical evidence to show the death penalty is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment and thus no good reason to maintain the death penalty.
Lawyers for Liberty therefore calls on the government, in line with the global trend, to immediately impose a permanent moratorium on all death penalty punishment and take steps towards its abolishment, thus resolving the death penalty dilemma and Sirul can be extradited to Malaysia in order for him to be imprisoned.
Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty
For more information, please contact:
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