Brothers executed despite pending clemency appeal

BY A. RUBAN
Currently, the law only provides for one sentence for those convicted of drug-related offences — death. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — Two brothers were hanged to death this morning at the Kajang Prison for their 2010 murder conviction, before the disposal of their petition for clemency.

Rames Batumalai, 45 and Suthar Batumalai, 40 were initially scheduled to be executed on February 24, but the execution was delayed after their family filed the petition the day before.

"International law clearly states that executions may not be carried out pending any appeal or other proceeding relating to pardon or commutation of the sentence," Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said in a statement today.

It was reported that prison authorities only informed family members two days ago of the brothers’ execution this morning.

“It is simply cruel that the family of the prisoners were told to prepare for executions this Friday, only to find out with less than 24 hours’ notice that they were given wrong information about the date of the execution.

"With the clemency appeal still pending, the brothers were denied of their opportunity to have their case reconsidered and have their clemency applications heard,” Shamini said.

Shamini said this case was "deeply troubling" and that the brothers should have been granted the opportunity to have their applications heard.

Until then, she said the execution should have been halted indefinitely pending hearing of the case.

When contacted, lawyer Haresh Mahadevan, who was appointed by the family to file a clemency petition for the duo, described the execution as an insult to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board with which the application was filed.

"I feel it's rather disrespectful to the state Ruler when they went ahead with the execution when there is no decision on the fresh clemency petition," he said.

In the application of clemency previously sighted by Malay Mail Online, the family had obtained a statutory declaration from the deceased's wife to forgive the brothers.

Last night, Amnesty International and several others including family members held a candlelight vigil outside the prison between 8pm and 12am.

Rames and Suthar were sentenced to death in April 2010 under Section 302 of the Penal Code after being convicted for a February 4, 2006 murder.