Maldives–Death Penalty––Universal Periodic Review–October 2019

The Advocates for Human Rights, together with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, submitted a joint stakeholder report on the death penalty in Republic of the Maldives for the  36th Session of the Universal Periodic Review in May 2020.

The Maldives has had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty for more than 60 years. In 2016, the government of then-President Abdulla Yameen announced that the Maldives would resume executions. As of October 2019, however, there have been no reports of executions. The Penal Code of the Maldives and the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1990 allows the death penalty for more than the most severe crimes, largely due to a broad definition of terrorism. Despite explicit laws prohibiting arbitrary arrest and ensuring an independent judiciary, the government has not properly enforced these laws. The Maldives has also failed to implement measures to improve detention conditions and prevent torture, as recommended by several countries.

Recommendations to the Maldives include:

  • Commute the death sentences to terms of imprisonment for all people on death row who were sentenced to death for crimes committed while under the age of 18. 
  • Impose a formal moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its eventual abolition. 
  • Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Commute all existing death sentences to terms of imprisonment. 
  • Amend the Penal Code and the Prevention of Terrorism Act to ensure that the death penalty is an available punishment only for crimes in which the person accused is proven to have committed an intentional killing, consistent with international human rights standards.