08/08/2017, 15.24
MALAYSIA
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Cabinet scraps mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking

If the 1952 Dangerous Drugs Act is amended, judges will be able to choose the sentence. About 651 Malaysians have been sentenced to death since 1992, most of them for drug offences. Malaysia is ranked tenth among the 23 countries that carried out death penalties last year. The death penalty is still mandatory for crimes like murder and terrorism.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Malaysia’s cabinet unanimously approved dropping the mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking. Now the matter goes to parliament.

In a parliamentary response, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said yesterday that the cabinet decided to amend the colonial-era Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952 to give courts a choice in sentencing drug traffickers.

About 651 Malaysians have been sentenced to death since 1992 — most of them for drug offences, Azalina said.

In March, human rights group Amnesty International ranked Malaysia tenth in the use of death penalty among the 23 countries that carried out capital punishment last year.

It was not immediately clear when the amended law would go before parliament; however, even if it is approved, Malaysia is expected to continue to impose mandatory death for other crimes, like murder and terrorism-related offences.

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