Briefings – Drug Offences and the Death Penalty in Malaysia

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Monash University, in partnership with ADPAN and HRI, undertook research to reveal the significant fair trial issues for more than 1,000 people on death row in Malaysia.

Since 2018, Malaysia has witnessed substantial progress in working towards the abolition of the death penalty. Of most significance in this context, was the introduction of an official moratorium on all executions in 2018, and the introduction of a discretionary death penalty for drug-trafficking offences in a number of limited circumstances, also in 2018.

Notwithstanding, this report has demonstrated how the current Malaysian death penalty framework falls short of current fair trial guarantees and standards that are enshrined either domestically or internationally. Lawyers appearing in criminal trials with experience in death penalty cases who were interviewed for this report, illuminated the ways in which these standards and guarantees are undermined.

  • Briefing 1 – the over-representation of foreign nationals and women on death row for drug offences.
  • Briefing 2 – challenges inherent to the Dangerous Drugs Act, including the introduction of discretionary sentencing for drug trafficking offences.
  • Briefing 3 – a summary of key research findings – the current Malaysian death penalty framework falls short of current fair trial guarantees and standards that are enshrined either domestically or internationally.

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