Death penalty will not be abolished without public opinion: AG Riffath

Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath | Photo: Mihaaru

Male’, Maldives – The government has said that capital punishment can only be abolished after necessary changes are brought to the constitution and after considering public opinions.

Speaking virtually on human rights advancements in the Maldives at the United Nation’s Universal Periodic review, Attorney General Ibrahim Rifath explained that he acknowledges demands to abolish the death penalty in Maldives, but that this can only be achieved after changes are brought to to the constitution. He added that while the death penalty has not been abolished, the issue of death sentences have been, and will continue to be ceased.

“We acknowledge the requests to abolish the death penalty in Maldives, but without Parliament making necessary laws and without extensive public surveying for their opinion on the matter, we cannot abolish the death penalty,” said Rifath in yesterdays meeting.

Rifath added that the unofficial decision to stop handing out death sentences will be maintained by the government and that strengthening the judiciary as well as the structure of the criminal justice system is far more important than to resume issuing death sentences.

Some other countries attending the meeting on the 4th of November , including Spain and Switzerland, asked the Maldives to abolish the death penalty.

While some offences warrant a death sentence under Maldivian law, such sentencing is rarely carried out. During former President Abdullah Yameen’s time in office, his government announced that they will begin issuing death penalties. While a lethal injection chamber was built at Maafushi prison to carry out this claim, no such executions were carried out during Yameen’s presidency.