Death row review hearing proves restorative justice principle preserved

Restorative justice principle under the country’s criminal justice system will always remain preserved and this is proven through the hearing of 11 death row review hearings, said Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The Federal Court will be hearing 11 review applications today, and another 14 on Thursday under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023 (Act 847).

“From the 11 applications, seven were on death row after being found guilty under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for drug trafficking while the remaining four are applying a review against their respective life sentences,” she said.

As of Nov 9, there were 978 review applications of which 861 were from death row prisoners and the balance of 117 involved prisoners serving life sentences.

“A total of 1,020 death row and life imprisonment prisoners are eligible to submit their applications. According to the provisions of Act 847, all applications must be submitted to the court within 90 days from the effective date of this act.

“The implementation of the conduct of court proceedings takes into account various factors according to priority, including the age of the prisoner, the level of health and the period of imprisonment of the prisoner as well as other urgent considerations,” she said.

“However, it is no longer mandatory as it was before and the amendment of the law gives judges the option to use their discretion in imposing the appropriate punishment.

“This matter is in line with the commitment by the unity government to give a second chance to the prisoners to return to society and family and continue their lives as ordinary citizens,’ she added.