Malaysia Ends Mandatory Death Penalty for Nonviolent Drug Crimes

Malaysia Ends Mandatory Death Penalty for Nonviolent Drug Crimes
High Times

Malaysia’s cabinet agreed on Friday to end mandatory death penalty sentences for 12 different kind of “crimes” including those involving non-violent drug offenses. The move comes four years after the government imposed a stay on executions. The reason this is so significant is that most people on death row in Malaysia have been convicted on narcotics charges. According to information provided by the government as of February of this year, 1,341 people were on the Malaysian death row—and 905 of those people were convicted of “drug trafficking.” Human Rights advocates in the region are cautiously optimistic. However according to Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, there should be no celebrating until this is codified in legislation. “The Malaysian government loves to float trial balloons about human rights initiatives because it knows the international community has a short attention span.” Amnesty International called the government’s decision a “welcome step in the right direction.” According to the most recent reports, the government expects to introduce the bill in Parliament in October and have it go into effect no later than January 2023. The move is even more significant given the trends on capital punishment in the region. Singapore, Myanmar, and Vietnam are, in stark contrast, increasing the use of the death penalty. Cannabis Appears to be the Driving Force of Reform What makes this sudden prioritization of changing a major piece of policy even more interesting is that the Malaysian government may have decided to change its stance on mandatory sentencing, beyond legal cases, because of its recent and growing interest in medical cannabis. Medical cannabis reform was discussed by the Malaysian cabinet in April this year during a meeting which the country’s Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob also attended. Subsequently the government issued a written statement that said…

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Source : Malaysia Ends Mandatory Death Penalty for Nonviolent Drug Crimes

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