Family of Hanged Siblings Suspect Botched Execution

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The family of two brothers accused the Kajang prison authorities of botching up the hanging of the duo who had been executed for murder.

The Star

Suthar Batumalai, 40, and Rames Batumalai, 45, were sentenced to death in April 2010 for the murder of Krishnan Raman on Feb 4, 2006.

The family filed a clemency petition in late February, and the brothers were given a last-minute reprieve from a scheduled execution in February.

Two days prior to the hanging on Mar 15, the families of the men were handed a letter informing them of the execution. They were told to visit the duo for the last time on the very next day.

In a press conference yesterday, the family of the brothers alleged that Suthar’s body was found to have strangulation marks around his neck area, the neck was not broken as it should be in a proper hanging, and his face was swelled up.

“We are not contented with the death and how they were executed. Suthar’s face was swollen. He showed signs of strangulation.

“His face was swollen, there were marks on the neck and his eyes were bulging,” sister-in-law B Devi Balbir Sarki said.

She, however, admitted that the family did not get a post-mortem done.

The execution took place on a Wednesday instead of Friday, when hangings in the country are usually carried out, which gave rise to more questions on whether their execution was botched.

Lawyer N Surendran, who represents the family, demanded that the prison authorities and Home Ministry explain to the family how the execution was conducted and also why it was done while the result of the clemency petition was still pending.

He said the authorities have one week to answer the family, failing which they will consider pursuing legal action.

“From a legal point of view, both of them were executed without exhausting all legal processes.

“A prisoner who has been convicted has the legal right for his clemency to be considered under constituency. If you don’t allow (the) process to finish, you have breached the law,” the lawyer said.

“We want an inquiry by authorities. I hope the home minister and authorities respond to this as soon as possible as it is a case of public interest,” Surendran added.

In the application of clemency previously sighted by Malay Mail Online, the family had obtained a statutory declaration from the deceased’s wife to forgive the men.

Amnesty International executive director Shamini Darshini said the brothers’ hanging raised questions on the transparency of the death penalty in Malaysia.

“Legal processes around death penalty is not completely clear. This is clear indication, it is not (transparent).

“When a person is hanged, there is a science to it. In this case, there are questions whether execution was correctly done. This seems to indicate a botched execution,” she said.

She also called on Putrajaya to declare a moratorium to prevent such incidences from happening in other death penalty cases in the future.