Malaysia retains the mandatory death penalty for ordinary crimes, including murder and drug-related offences. Malaysia is neither a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) nor its Second Optional Protocol aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (1989).
There have recently been some positive developments in Malaysia. In 2012, the Malaysian Government indicated that they are considering proposals to abolish the mandatory death penalty for certain drug offences. The Law Minister has also confirmed that such a review would entail a moratorium on executions for drug offences and we will continue to monitor these developments closely. In light of the recent legislative proposals in Malaysia, we commissioned Professor Roger Hood, Professor Emeritus of Criminology at the University of Oxford, to design and analyse the findings of a public opinion survey on the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia. The Report of findings was launched in association with the Bar Council Malaysia in July 2013.
Most recently, we assisted three British nationals, who were arrested in Malaysia and potentially faced drug trafficking charges which carries the mandatory death penalty. One individual was released due to lack of evidence and the two others were eventually charged with the lesser offence of possession of drugs. They no longer face the death penalty and were to be deported from Malaysia.
We are also assisting two Bulgarian nationals who have been convicted of drug trafficking offences and were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty. We are currently working with local counsel in Malaysia in their appeals to the Court of Appeal. We are also assisting a British national who has been charged with drug trafficking and potentially faces a death sentence if convicted.
For more information about the assistance we provide to British and other foreign nationals, click here.
CONSULATION AND TRAINING
In October 2013, in association with Bar Council Malaysia, the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM) and Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, we held a forensic psychiatry training workshop in Kuala Lumpur for mental health and legal professionals involved in capital cases in Malaysia.
The training provided specialised training and assistance to legal and mental health professionals in Malaysia and provided a platform for exchange for medical practitioners and lawyers.
Photos from the event can be viewed here.