“With the will of Allah, Maldives will implement the death penalty under my presidency,” were the words of President Abdulla Yameen on his first address on Monday since August this year.
President Yameen who is persistent on implementing death penalty in the country earlier on July 4 had spoken for the first time on the issue and said that it was in the interest of the people in the country after which he faced flak from Maldivians who took Twitter to campaign against it using #NotInMyName.
He also denounced human rights group’s criticism on reintroduce death penalty and hit our at media for “destroying” the country.
The decision to reintroduce capital punishment not only received flak from country based watchdogs and activists but also international community including United Nations, European Union and the United Nations.
United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein expressing concern on death penalty had said it was “deeply regrettable” that a series of steps were being taken to resume executions in the country. He also urged government to stick to 60-year-old moratorium.
The United Nations too had asked government to rethink on its decision of implementing death penalty.
European Union had, too, opposed the capital punishment in “all cases and without exception” and urged government to continue to apply the “’de facto moratorium’” on executions as a first step towards its abolition.
President Yameen had also received criticism from his own party over his decision. His half brother and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom opposed capital punishment saying that it was against Sharia Law and former Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon resigned in July citing “irreconcilable” differences over implementing the law.
The debate over capital punishment ignited this year after government amended the regulation to carrying out the death sentence in first degree murder cases to incorporated death by hanging along with lethal injections.
Massive support also poured in for 22-year-old Maldivian Hussain Humaam — a contract killer on the verge of being the first Maldivian to get the death sentence for the murder of former parliamentarian and religious scholar Dr Afrasheem Ali.
He was sentenced to death in 2014 for the alleged murder Afrasheem in 2012.
The human rights experts noted in his case that the Maldives Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence on June 24, while the investigation was still ongoing, and that the accusation and the murder verdict was based on a pre-trial confession obtained under duress.
Supreme Court, later in July quashed a plea demanding stay on death penalty calling its regulations valid and constitutional in mid-night judgement.
The Death Penalty Debate: What Is It All About?
- The government has amended the regulation to carrying out the death sentence in first degree murder cases to incorporated death by hanging along with lethal injections.
- The amendment fails to clarify the basis on which the method of implementing death penalty in individual cases.
- During the enactment of regulation, the government had decided that the death penalty would be implemented by administering lethal injection.
- Hanging is being incorporated as there were some issues in carrying out death penalty by lethal injection.
- The amendment to law has been published in the government gazette.
- When former Home Minister Umar Naseer announced the amendment, he also mentioned the timeline stating that the death sentence would be carried out by hanging within 30 days of Supreme Court’s final verdict but the no such timeline has been mentioned the gazette.
Dual Methods When Maldives Wants None
- The government has come up with two methods of implementing death penalty but Maldives seems to have rejected it completely.
- From Opposition MP Eva Abdulla submitting a motion against the decision to European Union expressing concern, Twitter was on a meltdown for quite some time now over the issue.
#Maldives Supreme Court confirming death penalty for Humam is of great concern. EU is against the Death Penalty in all circumstances.
— David Daly (@DavidDalyEU) June 27, 2016
— article21mv (@article21mv) June 27, 2016
— MushfiqueMohamed (@mushfique_) June 27, 2016
Humam’s Case: Sentencing First, Investigation Later
- Hussain Humaam, a contract killer is on the verge of being the first Maldivian to get the death sentence for the murder of former parliamentarian and religious scholar Dr Afrasheem Ali.
- The irony is that the sentencing is being done despite the family of Dr Afrasheem Ali requesting delay in his sentencing as the investigation is not yet complete.
- The police are yet to find out who gave Humam the contract to kill Dr Ali.
- Maldivians say if former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim can be framed and sentenced, so do others and death penalty will come handy for people to avenge which is against Sharia law.
— Eva Abdulla (@evattey) June 27, 2016
— Imthiyaz Fahmy (@Imthiyazfahmy) June 23, 2016
Maybe Humam did murder a man on someone’s orders.
All five goons on the SC bench also murdering a man on someone’s orders.
— Yameen Rasheed (@yaamyn) June 24, 2016
Humam never had a chance. The state is hellbent on killing him. Afrasheem’s family’s opinion, the defence’s statements are irrelevant.
— Mariyath Mohamed (@EhJu) June 23, 2016