Centre for Policy Alternatives on 9 July, 2019

RTI Commission ruling: CPA request on persons sentenced to the death penalty

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In an urgent Appeal hearing today relating to a right to information (RTI) request filed by CPA, the RTI Commission ordered the Prisons Department to release details of persons convicted for drug-related crimes and sentenced to the death penalty.

CPA had originally filed the request with the Ministry of Justice and Prison Reforms, requesting the details of the persons convicted of drug related crimes on whom the death penalty can be imposed which the Ministry was reported to have forwarded to the President in February 2019. The request was initially refused by the Ministry and CPA had appealed onwards to the RTI Commission. When it was reported on June 26th that the President had signed the death warrants of four prisoners, CPA requested the RTI Commission to expedite its Appeal as the request now concerned the life and liberty of a citizen, as per section 25(3) of the RTI Act. The RTI Commission agreed and heard CPA’s Appeal alongside several other Appeals for similar information on July 2nd and today.

At the hearing today, both the Prisons Department and the Ministry of Justice and Prison Reforms complied with the RTI Commission’s directive to release the requested information. Both public authorities also gave public undertakings that they had not received any signed death warrants from the President.

The RTI Commission also set an Appeal hearing date for September in relation to an Appeal on a request filed by CPA to the Presidential Secretariat requesting the details of the four prisoners whose death warrants have reportedly been signed by the President.