The Maldives will implement the death penalty by hanging, Home Minister Umar Naseer has announced.
Death row prisoners will be executed within thirty days of the Supreme Court upholding or issuing a guilty verdict, he said in an interview with private TV channel Al-Kaun on Friday.
“We had first considered implementing the death penalty by using lethal injections. But on speaking with countries with the experience, we found out that hanging was better.”
The Maldives ended a six-decade moratorium on the death penalty in 2014.
Naseer, who led the effort, has long claimed that capital punishment deters crime.
The Maldives has seen a surge in violent deaths since 2006. A majority were linked to gang fights.
The government set aside MVR4million ($259,403) to build a facility to execute prisoners.
“I have been advocating in favour of the death penalty since the day I joined politics,” Naseer said. He went on to claim that countries that implement the death penalty have lower crime rates and that some countries that abolished the death penalty are considering reintroducing it.
There are some 17 prisoners on death row in the Maldives.
The government has defended the death penalty claiming it is mandatory under Islamic law. The Maldives, however, does not enforce other mandatory punishments such as amputation for theft.
Naseer’s remarks come as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on a death sentence handed to a 22-year-old man found guilty of murdering MP Dr Afrasheem Ali. If the apex court upholds the verdict, Hussain Humam could become the first Maldivian executed by the state in more than half a century.
The death penalty has no unique deterrent effect on crime, human rights groups have said.
“The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it,” Amnesty International said in a recent report. “It promotes simplistic responses to complex human problems and distracts from effective measures being taken against criminality.”
The report added: “In 2004 in the USA, the average murder rate for states that used the death penalty was 5.71 per 100,000 of the population as against 4.02 per 100,000 in states that did not use it. In 2003 in Canada, 27 years after the country abolished the death penalty the murder rate had fallen by 44 per cent since 1975, when capital punishment was still enforced. Far from making society safer, the death penalty has been shown to have a brutalizing effect on society. State sanctioned killing only serves to endorse the use of force and to continue the cycle of violence.”
The president of the Maldives could commute death sentences, but the high court in November removed the authority from the president.