The Edition


Maldives seeks top court say over death penalty clemency

Mohamed Visham
06 October 2016, MVT 15:36
The Supreme Court building in the capital Male. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/NISHAN ALI
Mohamed Visham
06 October 2016, MVT 15:36

The government has sought a final ruling on the annulment of a clause giving the president power to grant clemency to convicts on death row.

The case seeking to annul the clause in the Clemency Act, which gives the president the power to turn death sentences into life imprisonment, was filed privately by a group of individuals in 2012.

The state had argued that the authority given to the president by the clause cannot be used in Qisas (the right of a murder victim's nearest relative or Wali [legal guardian] to, if the court approves, take the life of the killer) cases.

The High Court in December last year ruled that the president cannot grant clemency to convicts on death row in Qisas cases but would be able to exercise the power on other cases involving a death sentence.

The Attorney General is now seeking a Supreme Court say on the ruling.

The full bench of the top court is set to begin proceedings on Sunday.

Maldives government is pushing to enforce the death penalty after ending the de facto moratorium that has been in place in the country for over six decades.

In June this year, capital punishment regulations were amended to allow for hanging in addition to lethal injections as methods of execution.

There are currently 17 individuals on death row in the Maldives. Some cases raise serious due process concerns, with three of them at imminent risk of execution.