Maldives amends capital punishment law to opt for death by hanging

Home minister Umar Naseer gestures during an interview with Mihaaru. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

Home minister Umar Naseer gestures during an interview with Mihaaru. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN

The government has amended the capital punishment law to adopt hanging instead of lethal injection, home minister Umar Naseer revealed Friday.

Maldives overturned a six-decade-old moratorium on capital punishment with the adoption of a new regulation this week that allows for the death penalty to be used to punish certain crimes.

The Maldivian government enacted the regulation, which makes provision for execution by lethal injection, for the crimes of premeditated murder or deliberate manslaughter.

Speaking to Al Kaun TV, the home minister said foreign governments had advised the change from lethal injection to death by hanging.

“We spoke with countries with experience in using lethal injection. In light of those consultations, we’ve decided that hanging was the best method of execution,” Umar explained.

According to Umar, the relevant authorities can implement the death penalty within 30 days after the convict exhausts the appeal process. The government has all the facilities in place to follow through with executions, Umar added.

He also reiterated that the only way for the authorities to ensure sustained peace and stability in the Maldives is to implement the death penalty.

Execution facilities at the Maldives’ Maafushi Prison were being built to carry out sentences. Since reenacted, 20 people have been sentenced to death but all the cases are yet to complete the entire appeal process.

While the age of criminal responsibility is 10 in the Maldives, some crimes under the country’s Sharia laws — known as Hadd offenses — have an age of responsibility of 7. This means that juveniles could potentially face execution in the archipelago.

The government had included MVR4 million in the budget this year to build an execution chamber.

However, over mounting pressure from human rights bodies, companies have been refusing to supply the fatal dose to countries still carrying out capital punishment, the government had said earlier.

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