Iran: Annual report on the death penalty 2017

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 13, 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
This number is comparable with the execution figures in 2016 and confirms the relative reduction in the use of the death penalty compared to the period between 2010 and 2015. 
Nevertheless, with an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per one million inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
2017 Annual Report at a Glance:
At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges - 98 more than in 2016.At le…

Malaysia: Let judicial discretion in sentencing lead to total abolition of death penalty

Screenshot from 'Apprentice' by Boo Junfeng (2016)
The Malaysian Bar welcomes the removal of the mandatory death sentence for drug offences and the restoration of judicial discretion in sentencing with the passing of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2017 by the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 30.

We wish to recognise the government for having considered public feedback by amending the Bill and removing the requirement of the public prosecutor's certification of the assistance rendered by the convicted person, for the judge to not pass the death penalty.

However, there remain limits to what the judge can take into account in exercising his/her discretion in sentencing. Section 39B(2A) of the Bill, inter alia, requires that the court:

... may have regard only to the following circumstances: [emphasis added]

(a) there was no evidence of buying and selling of a dangerous drug at the time when the person convicted was arrested;

(b) there was no involvement of agent provocateurs; or

(c) the involvement of the person convicted is restricted to transporting, carrying, sending or delivering a dangerous drug; and,

(d) that the person convicted has assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia.

We are concerned that judges are being limited in their consideration of the mitigating factors and circumstances that surround each case, before sentencing.

Such mitigating factors can include, and are not limited to, the offender's age, rehabilitation goals, past criminal record, the role played in the offence, mental capacity, reparations made, fear of another person, use of violence, the harm done to property or persons, and degree of cooperation with the authorities. The sentencing process is, and should always remain, within the unfettered domain of the judiciary.

We are also troubled that the determination on whether the death penalty is imposed rests upon an assessment of the convicted person's ability or willingness to assist in disrupting drug trafficking activities. A person's right to life is a fundamental right, not a privilege that can be revoked if that person is deemed not sufficiently "useful" to an enforcement agency.

The Malaysian Bar calls upon the government to further amend the Bill to enable those already convicted and sentenced to death to apply for a review of their sentence. Meanwhile, the government should officially declare and implement a moratorium on all pending executions.

The Bar also remains resolute in our position that the death penalty is an extreme, abhorrent and inhumane punishment. There are also provisions for the imposition of the mandatory death penalty in the Penal Code and the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, and of the discretionary death penalty in the Kidnapping Act 1961.

Finally, the Bar calls upon the government to act without delay to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, and to uphold the right to life, which is absolute, universal and inalienable.

Source: malaysiakini.com, December 5, 2017

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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