Legal Politics

Death penalty violent and ineffective form of punishment, says UK

The death penalty is a violent and ineffective form of punishment that has no deterrent or protective value, the UK has said following the Maldives’ decision to lift its moratorium on executions.

British minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon told the House of Lords Monday the government had engaged the Maldives at the highest levels on the matter.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote to President Abdulla Yameen on August 29 as did the UK’s Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field on August 31.

The former Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Alok Sharma, also raised this issue with the Maldivian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamed Asim when they met at the UN Human Rights Council in February, Lord Ahmad added.

The Maldives in 2014 ended a six-decade moratorium on capital punishment, with Yameen declaring the island nation would be ready for executions in September.

Rumours of imminent executions in the Maldives triggered international condemnation including from philanthropist Richard Branson and Indian politician Sashi Tharoor.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2016 Human Rights and Democracy report highlighted our concerns, including upholding death sentences against minors,” Lord Ahmad said.

“We have consistently made clear our opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. It is a violent and ineffective form of punishment that has no deterrent or protective value .”

International human rights groups Amnesty International and Reprieve, in a petition against the death penalty in the Maldives, said Yameen was putting the country “on the wrong side of history” by this “reckless course of action”.

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