Attorney General (AG) Aishath Azima Shakoor has said last night that implementing capital punishment cannot be debated over.
“It cannot be debated to not implement capital punishment. Debating over whether a certain verdict is not correct or that the death penalty is not a suitable punishment for a crime because it wasn’t a murder in the first degree but a murder in the second degree is different. But it cannot be debated that the death penalty cannot be implemented for murder,” she said during an interview on TVM’s “Raajje Miadhu” show.
She revealed on the show that the AG’s office is working on drafting the procedures required to implement the death penalty and that the Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has also sent a letter to the parliament to identify the procedures required to implement the death penalty.
When asked by the presenter that given several people claiming problems with the judicial system if whether it was the right juncture to implement the death penalty Azima criticized such claims saying that a certain group is conspiring to weaken the legal system.
Azima noted that there will always be opposition in the international community against the death penalty with those who believe the punishment is inhumane but there are also those who believe that in case of an increase in extreme crimes “extreme punishment” needs to implemented.
“The other argument is that if someone commits a crime that necessitates capital punishment then it must be implemented….even America with the most developed legal system implements the death penalty. So if a person commits a crime that deserves the death penalty like killing with intent or planning and murdering a lot of people, isn’t that inhumane?” she questioned.
Azima said that the government will be pressured by those who are against capital punishment and statements will be made as well. She also said that the Penal Code currently in parliament process would need to be perfect and that there are several degrees of the death penalty.
She said that if the death penalty is to be implemented all the courts should support it as it is the procedure followed by all countries implementing the death penalty. She added that legal specifications should exist on the implementation of the death penalty.
“For example, what are the rights of the person who should be executed? What are his the last rights he’s entitled to? What should be done for his family? What are the rights of the victim’s family? This needs to be specified. There already are people on whom the death penalty has been issued, but so far never implemented. Societal sensitivities are also involved in this, but I don’t this is the time to be talking of it. But there is also the question if a lower court issues the death penalty on a person whether it should be implemented? Several people tell me that this problem will be solved when it is implemented. Then I ask how it should be done. They don’t have an answer for that,” she said.
She revealed that considering the messages on the media and SMS she receives from people it is widely believed that implementing the death penalty will solve the problem, but that she found it hard to confirm. Yet she also said that considering the matter in one way she believes that it may reduce the number of murders in the Maldives.
“For example Singapore, the death penalty is implemented on drug traffickers caught smuggling drugs into the country. People don’t and cannot smuggle drugs into Singapore easily. The Maldives doesn’t have such a comparison. There are several such comparisons in the world,” she said.