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Maldives: To resume executions after more than 60 years

    Thursday, August 31, 2017 - 10:24

    Death to the death penalty Maldives do not resume executions amnesty international

    Photo Credit: Amnesty International France

    Download PDF of  the most recent update to UA 179/17 Maldives

     

    According to statements by the Maldives President, the death penalty would be implemented 'by the end of September'. If carried out, these would be the first executions in the country in over 60 years. The Maldives Supreme Court upheld the convictions and death sentences of three men in mid-2016, who could be at imminent risk of execution.

    Three prisoners facing the death sentence, Hussain Humaam Ahmed, Ahmed Murrath and Mohamed Nabeel are believed to be at imminent risk of execution. According to media reports, President Abdulla Yameen reiterated on 6 August his commitment to carry out the executions "by the end of September". This announcement followed information received by Amnesty International on 19 July 2017, indicating that the authorities were preparing for imminent executions. 

    Should the government go ahead with the executions, it would not only be a tragic setback for the country, which has not carried out any executions for over 60 years, but it would also violate Maldives obligations under international law, including to protect the three men's right to life. The Maldives Supreme Court has to date upheld the convictions and death sentences of three men who have now exhausted their domestic legal appeals. Amnesty International has serious concerns about the fairness of the proceedings that lead to the imposition of the death penalty in the country, including the use of an apparently coerced "confession" that was later retracted by one of the death row prisoners, Hussain Humaam Ahmed.

    In July 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee requested the government of Maldives to stay the execution of Hussain Humaam Ahmed, pending the consideration of an appeal filed on the prisoner's behalf. The same requests were issued by the UN body in July 2017 in the cases of the two other men, Ahmed Murrath and Mohamed Nabeel. The Maldives has undertaken a binding commitment to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Committee. 

     

    Please send a letter and/or email without delay.

    * Start with a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.

    * Call on authorities to halt any plans to resume executions and establish an official moratorium on all executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

    * Urge them to immediately commute the death sentence against all prisoners under sentence of death, including those imposed for crimes committed when the prisoners were below 18 years of age

    * Urge them to amend national legislation to remove provisions that are not in line with international law and standards and abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

     

    Here is the contact information you need:

     

    President of Maldives

    Abdulla Yameen Gayoom

    The President's Office,

    Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male' 20113,

    Republic of Maldives

    Fax: 011 960 332 5500

    Salutation: His Excellency

     

    Minister of Home Affairs

    Mr. Azleen Ahmed

    Ministry of Home Affairs,

    10th floor, H. Velaanaage Malé

    Ameeru Ahmed Magu, Male' 20096,

    Republic of Maldives

    Email: info@homeaffairs.gov.mv

    Fax: 011 960 3324739

    Salutation: Honourable Minister

     

    Please send a copy to:

     

    Minister of Foreign Affairs

    Dr. Mohamed Asim

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

    Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male' 20077,

    Republic of Maldives

    Email: admin@foreign.gov.mv

     

    Additional Information:

    In 2014, the Maldives government, under President Abdulla Yameen, announced that the Maldives would resume executions, which had not been carried out for over 60 years. Since then, authorities have taken steps to resume executions, including amending national legislation. Regulations have removed the power from the executive to grant pardons or commutations in murder cases, depriving those facing the death penalty of the right to apply for these as guaranteed under international law.

    In 2016, the method of execution was changed from lethal injection to hanging, and government officials pledged that executions would happen within 30 days of confirmation of guilty verdicts by the Supreme Court. In late January 2017, Amnesty International received credible reports from contacts that executions could be imminent, and could resume even before local council elections which, at the time, were tentatively scheduled for early April 2017. In early February 2017, Minister of Home Affairs Azleen Ahmed?told national media that preparations for the implementation of the death penalty, including the building of two execution chambers, were underway. On 23 April 2017, President Abdulla Yameen said in a speech that the government intended to resume executions within a few months.

    According to figures from the Maldives Correction Services and media reports, there are at least 20 prisoners currently under sentence of death in the country. Of these, at least five were convicted and sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were below 18 years of age.

    Three men have now exhausted their domestic legal appeals, after the Supreme Court upheld their convictions and death sentences in mid-2016: Hussain Humaam Ahmed (Humaam) was convicted of and sentenced to death for murder in 2012, and the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 24 June 2016. Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have raised serious concerns about the fairness of Humaam's trial. The UN Human Rights Committee in July 2016 issued an order to stay his execution pending its consideration of the case.

    Ahmed Murrath was convicted of and sentenced to death for murder in 2012. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 9 July 2016.

    Mohamed Nabeel was convicted of and sentenced to death for murder in 2009. The Supreme Court upheld his death sentence on 27 July 2016.

    The Maldives has undertaken a binding commitment to cooperate with the Human Rights Committee, which the three men petitioned to consider their claims that their rights guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have been violated.

    Amnesty International believes that the death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amnesty International supports calls, included in five resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly since 2007, for the establishment of a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. As of today, 141 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice; in the Asia-Pacific region, 20 

     

    If you wish to receive updates on this case, email urgentaction@amnesty.ca. In the subject line, write “Keep me updated on UA 179/17 "Maldives".

     

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