Source: News of the Weed
Dear Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak,
It is with the greatest respect to you and your country and it’s legal system that we write to you today in the hope that your government will join the vast majority of UN member nations and urgently reconsider your current use of the death penalty, in particular for drug trafficking.
As you may know there are coordinated peaceful protests planned on Thursday March 4th at Malaysian Embassies in cities worldwide, including Britain (London), Denmark (Copenhagen), France, USA (New York & LA) and Nepal (Kathmandu). There will also be protests at the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs in Vienna on 8th-12 March.
These protests represent continued and growing international concern at Malaysia’s current policy, a concern which will grow with every death sentence, tarnishing Malaysia’s reputation as a modern and progressive nation with a fair system of justice which takes basic human rights as it’s foundation.
We therefore respectively ask you to consider the overwhelming evidence that the use of the death penalty does not prevent serious crime, and carries a major risk of innocent people being executed for crimes they did not commit, even in the fairest of legal systems.
Malaysia makes the death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking, giving judges no grounds for discretion. We ask, how can that ever be fair?
For these and other reasons Cambodia recently abolished the death penalty, the Philippines have declared a moratorium, and in Thailand the death penalty for drugs has not been used since 2004.
We represent concerned citizens of nations from all over the world, but in Malaysia itself polls have shown up to 64% of your own citizens have said they were against the death penalty, and the respected Malaysian Bar Council of Lawyers with 12,500 members has repeatedly called for an immediate end to all executions.
Yet currently over 300 people are on death row in Malaysia, mainly young men under the age of 25, many of them for relatively minor cannabis dealing charges.
As recently as December 2009 in Malaysia four young men were sentenced to death for trafficking relatively small amounts of herbal cannabis, a crime which in many nations would not even warrant a prison sentence. We ask you to stop their executions and consider the fact that in almost every case the traffickers you catch and execute are in fact victims, many of them very young, deserving of help from your government, not execution.
Amnesty International has said the death penalty is “the ultimate denial of human rights”. We respectfully ask you to consider that the use of the death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, making your government technically guilty of Crimes Against Humanity (maximum penalty life imprisonment).
We therefore ask you to spare the lives of the young people currently on death row in your country for drug crimes with an immediate moritorium on executions.
We respectfully ask you to consider the strong evidence from all over the world that the well intended prohibitionist drug policies you currently follow are in fact more dangerous to your citizens than the very drugs you hope to protect them from.
We believe you would agree that it is the duty of every government to protect it’s citizens from harm. However until you change provably dangerous policies and laws concerning drugs, which in fact encourage drug use and harm the very fabric of society, you will be failing in your duty.
We plead to you in the name of humanity to please act now to save the lives of those already condemned, and let Malaysia join the global majority whose societies have only benefited by ending the counter productive use of the death penalty.