Friday, June 16, 2017

Underage murderers - what do we do?

MM Online - Minister wants killer bullies to be tried as adults (extracts):

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim today pleaded with authorities not to give any dispensation to the five teens who allegedly bullied T. Nhaveen to death.

She said the group aged between 16 and 18 years’ old must be prosecuted as adults rather than young offenders, which would prevent them from facing the mandatory death penalty for murder.

“I urge for this case to be dealt under the Penal Code and not the Child Act,” the women, family and community development minister was quoted as saying by the Star Online news portal.

Leaving the terribly tormenting tragedy of T Nhaveen aside for just a while, it's hardly surprising that the Minister wants those teenagers responsible for Nhaveen's death to face the mandatory death penalty for murder.

A majority of Malaysians of all ethnic groups (approximately 56%) are predisposed towards capital punishment, claiming that will be just (fitting) retribution and also deterrence.

Very few spoke of rehabilitation. Only those possessing Buddhism as a religion seem less inclined to be so vengeful.

Retribution could be said to come from the bible
Exodus 21:24-25 (KJV):

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

It's obvious the belief in retribution has survived for millenniums.

Though the Bible was written over a long period of time, on animal skins, parchments, stones or even by word of mouth, the first serious writing and compilation was done when the Judeans (early Jews) were in Babylonian captivity, circa 580 BCE [2,600 years ago].

But its first serious authorship in Babylon has lent biblical and other famous scholars like Sigmund Freud to suspect those ancient Judeans incorporated Babylonian history and issues into the Tanakh (Jewish Bible), such as Noah's Ark, Moses as a baby being picked from the water, and that the glory and grandeur of the 1st Temple was a copy of a magnificent Babylonian building which must have dazzled those relatively less sophisticated Judeans.

Now, the 'eye for an eye' retributive law, referred to as lex talionis by law makers, was actually preceded by the Code of Hammurabi, said to be one of the earliest surviving codes of law in recorded history.

Hammurabi was the 6th King of Babylon who reigned from around 1810 BCE to 1750 BCE [nearly 4,000 years ago]. I would not be surprised if the Judean writers of the Tanakh included some of the Hammarubi's laws into the bible.

We are also informed that the principle of lex talionis in Islam is Qiṣāṣ (Arabic: قصاص) as mentioned in Qur'an, 2:178:

"O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution (Qisas) for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment."

But modern day humanists, scholars and some lawmakers believe the young do not have the moral nor intellectual capacity to know the consequences of their actions.

They believe also that rehabilitation is far superior than executing teenagers, giving them a 'second chance', which of course could be argued away by the fact of the dead victim not ever enjoying such a 'second chance'.

But the minister seems emotionally inclined enough to base the severity of a crime on its consequences rather than the characteristics of the perpetrators. What she has said is virtually 'F**K their young age!'

Currently, if a teenager under the age of 18 commits a crime deserving of capital punishment, under Article 97 of the Child Act, he or she will be spared the state execution ...

... unless the crime falls under the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975, which state in article 3:

“(3)Where a person is accused of or charged with a security offence, he shall, regardless of his age, be dealt with and tried in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations and the Juvenile Courts Act, 1948, shall not apply to such cases.

Security offences would be those under the Internal Security Act 1960,6 which prescribes the death penalty for offences relating to firearms, ammunition and explosives and to the disruption of public security, public order and terrorism.

T Nhaveen's charged murderers did allegedly kill him but not as a crime that falls under Article 3 of the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975, so now what?

If all the five of them were below the age of 18, as two definitely were (at age 16), at the time of the alleged murder, then the Child Act does not permit capital punishment though the crime has been murder.

And that's why Rohani Abdul Karim, the women, family and community development minister, wants them trialled under the Penal Code for adults, and out of the window with the Child Act.

From Wikipedia: James Patrick Bulger (16 March 1990 – 12 February 1993) was a boy from Kirkby, Merseyside, England, who was murdered on 12 February 1993, at the age of two.

He was abducted, tortured and murdered by two ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson (born 23 August 1982) and Jon Venables (born 13 August 1982).

Bulger was led away from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle whilst his mother was distracted. His mutilated body was found on a railway line two-and-a-half miles (4 km) away in Walton, Liverpool, two days after his murder. Thompson and Venables were charged on 20 February 1993 with Bulger's abduction and murder.

They were found guilty on 24 November 1993, making them the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history. They were sentenced to custody until they reached adulthood, initially until the age of 18, and were released under new identities and on a lifelong licence in June 2001.

In 2010, Venables was sent to prison for violating the terms of his licence of release [apparently for being involved in child pornography], and was released on parole again in 2013.

In 2009, Australians went berserk on media-initiated rumours that the two, Thompson and Venables, would be settled own in Australia under secret identities. The furor eventually died down.

I am not Nhaveen's mom or brother so I cannot say a word on a fit punishment for this sickening horrendous brutal murder, other than to say we Malaysians are at an age moving towards the total abolishment of capital punishment, or at least having a silent moratorium on the non-practice of such laws.

Do we want to possibly execute (state sanctioned murder) teenagers?


  1. In Malaysia , everything is distorted through the Race and Religion lens.
    The alleged perpetrators in Nhaveen's killing are from the "Master" Race and Religion, the "Sub-Continent type" common in Penang.

    There are already loud calls for Nhaveen's alleged killers to be treated leniently as they were "Only children" and cannot be held to full account like adults.

    I'm sure if the Race and Religion situation were the other way round, there would be a lynch mob already being formed.

    Even an innocent passerby of the "Wrong" Race and Religion could find his life in mortal danger.

    1. The minister has acted contrary to your predictions

  2. Many human rights activist consider the practice of trying children as adults as a human rights violation.

    This is especially in this case where trying them as adults in Malaysia would expose them to the death penalty.

    I'm in favour of charging them with the maximum penalty available under law, but that correctly does not include trying them as adults.