In this dialogue, the opening event of Amnesty International Malaysia’s virtual week of action against the death penalty, Amnesty International Malaysia speaks to four death penalty abolition activists: Angelia Selvam Pranthaman, Chow Ying Ngeow, Kirsten Han and Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu in Malaysia and Singapore.
Moderated by Amnesty Malaysia executive director Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, the panel discussed:
• How they got involved in death penalty abolition
• Their experiences and journey as activists
• What opposition and backlash they have experienced and how they have stayed motivated
• How members of the public can support or get involved in abolition activism
• What the activists would like to see happen next for the abolition movement to grow in Malaysia
MP Kasthuri Patto provided opening remarks on the importance of the abolition of the death penalty in today’s Malaysia.
Angelia Pranthaman is currently a self-employed life insurance agent. She advocates for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia and Asia. She is currently campaigning to save her brother, Pannir Selvam and other death row inmates inside Changi Prison, Singapore. Her cause has led her to collaborate with various prominent legal figures, organisations, lawyers, and artists.
Chow Ying Ngeow is a practising lawyer in Malaysia and vice-president of the Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Chow Ying started her advocacy on the abolition of the death penalty 10 years ago, with a campaign for clemency for a young Malaysian sentenced to death in Singapore for drug trafficking. She was a member of the executive committee of the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (Adpan) from 2015 to 2019 and has represented Adpan at various international conferences.
Kirsten Han is a Singaporean freelance journalist, an anti-death penalty activist, and curator of the newsletter We, The Citizens. Her work often revolves around the themes of social justice, human rights, politics and democracy, with by-lines in publications like the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Foreign Policy. She received an honourable mention from the World Justice Project’s Anthony Lewis Prize for Exceptional Rule of Law Journalism in 2018 and a Human Rights Press Award for her commentaries on ‘fake news’ and freedom of expression in 2019. Her essay “The Silhouette of Oppression” was published by Epigram Books in 2019.
Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu joined the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) in March 2020 as its executive director and is currently based in Bangkok. Prior to that, she was with Amnesty International Malaysia as its executive director, a position she held between June 2013 and February 2020. Shamini is a Chevening scholar, and has a master of science in international politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London.
Kasthuri Patto is the incumbent MP for Batu Kawan, Penang since 2013. She is the international secretary for DAP Women, member of the parliamentary Select Committee for Human Rights and Gender Equality, and secretary for Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). She is a strong proponent of human rights, gender equality and the abolition of the death penalty.