After Burkina Faso, Malaysia will be the second country to abolish the death penalty this year. This historical decision that changes the policy of a country that just last year had 800 people under a death sentence, was announced this month by Liew Vui Keong the Law minister who also declared that there would be a moratorium on executions for inmates currently on death row.
“The abolition of death penalty is part of our election pledge and also in line with the move away from capital punishment in the rest of the world”: confirmed the Communications Minister Gobind Singh Deo. In fact, the new Malaysian government that established on 9th May of this year is led by Pakatan Harapan (PH) the first party to win the elections against Barisan Nasional (BN) that had ruled the country since its independence in 1957. The reason behind the winning of PH is most of all its declared purpose of fighting for the respect of human rights and against the corruption present in the country.
This great news for human rights supporters, that Human Rights Watch described as a “fabulous news” comes not only thanks to the goodwill of the new Malaysian Government but also thanks to the active campaign against this legalized crime that Amnesty International launched in the country.
If on one hand just time will tell us whether these campaigns will prove successful also in the other countries where they were launched (i.e. Japan, Belarus, and Iran) on the other we can rejoice in welcoming Malaysia among death sentence-free country. As already said this year, precisely on 1st June, also Burkina Faso abolished this penalty in its draft process of the new constitution. The country followed in this decision some other neighbors such as Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Gabon, Rwanda that all recognized that, as many United Nations studies show, the death penalty is not just cruel, but also useless.
But also in states that still seem to be far from abolishing the death penalty, there have been protests and boycott against this practice. In the USA, for example, the German pharma company Fresenius Kabi started a law-suit against the Nebraska State that was going to use its product as a poison to kill Carey Dean Moore, who was sentenced to the capital punishment for having killed two cable drivers. Even though in the end Richard G. Kopf, senior U.S. district judge, rejected the request of Fresenius Kabi and the execution took place, also the son of one of the two victims of Moore’s killing was upset with the way the situation was managed by saying: “I feel like my father and Mr. Van Ness (the other victim of Moore NDR) have kind of been forgotten in this”.
The decision to boycott the death penalty via not selling to the states their chemical products are getting more and more popular in the USA as proved by the restrictions put in 2016 by Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, to the selling of its products for death penalty scopes. Also if for now, governments seem to prefer struggling to find new poisons rather than just giving up the hope is that one day they will stop committing such a crime against life or that, as it seems is already happening, the pharmaceutical companies will force them to do so.