GENEVA (11 April 2023) – UN human rights experts* today hailed a decision by the Malaysian parliament to revoke the country’s mandatory death penalty for many serious crimes, a decision that could potentially spare the lives of 1300 prisoners on death row.

“The decision bolsters the global trend towards universal abolition,” the experts said.

“The death penalty is incompatible with fundamental tenets of human rights and dignity. We reiterate that the mandatory use of the death penalty constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life and is a fundamental infringement upon the independence of judiciary and fair trial guarantees,” they said.

“It denies judges the possibility to consider the defendant’s personal circumstances or the circumstances of the particular offence and individualise the sentence. The mandatory death penalty is not compatible with the limitation of capital punishment to the “most serious crimes.”

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