Asia Pacific
Maldivian gov't criticized for reinstating death penalty
Last Updated: 2014-05-02 18:44 | Xinhua
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Human Rights watchdogs on Friday condemned moves by the Maldivian government to reinstate the death penalty insisting it is causing "grave concern." The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) has condemned the Maldivian government's decision to implement the death penalty in a statement. The MDN expressed "great concern" over the move to break a sixty- year de facto moratorium on the death penalty in the country. New regulations allow for children as young as seven to be sentenced to death. "Given the state of the Maldivian judiciary, which is also perceived to be highly politicized and corrupt, it is most concerning that as grave a matter as life and death of humans is to be decided by it," the MDN stated.

Adopted on April 27, the new regulation provides for the use of death penalty for the offense of intentional murder, including when committed by individuals under the age of 18.

The age of criminal responsibility in the Maldives is ten, but for "hadd" offences under conservative Islamic law, children as young as seven can be held responsible.

Hadd offences include theft, fornication, adultery, consumption of alcohol, and apostasy.

The MDN's remarks follows a statement by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in which the organization called for the practice to be abolished.

"We urge the Government to retain its moratorium on the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, particularly in cases that involve juvenile offenders and to work towards abolishing the practice altogether," said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the OHCHR.

"We equally encourage the government to repeal the new regulations and other provisions that provide for the death penalty," she told reporters earlier this week.

However, the Maldivian government has shown no signs of rolling back its push to revive the death penalty.

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