The death penalty will not make the Maldives safer

Amnesty International and six other organizations have written to President Abdulla Yameen of the Maldives, urging him to change course and halt the first executions planned in more than 60 years.

“The death penalty will do nothing to make the Maldives safer,” the letter, signed by Amnesty International, the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, FORUM-Asia, the Maldivian Democracy Network, Reprieve, Transparency Maldives and Uthema, said.

The organizations said that there is mounting evidence that the three men on death row, who may be executed as soon as September, did not receive fair trials. The letter said there are credible reports that the convictions were secured on the basis of coerced confessions and other violations of due process.

“The Maldives will thrive only if its values – including protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law and the fairness and independence of the courts – are upheld. The execution of prisoners who have not received fair trials risks a grave and irreversible miscarriage of justice,” the seven organizations wrote to President Yameen in the letter.

The letter comes as global pressure mounts on the Maldivian government to preserve its admirable decades-long practice of shunning the death penalty, with no executions taking place since the South Asian island nation won independence from British colonial rule.

Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has said that the executions would “run counter to international trends toward abolition”.

"The Government must halt the executions of these three men. To implement the death penalty after flawed trials would constitute arbitrary executions in clear violation of international law," Agnes Callamard added.

The full letter from Amnesty International and the six other organizations is available here: