(CTN NEWS) – Singapore has come under strong urging from various quarters to halt the imminent execution of two individuals convicted on drug-related charges, including the first woman in almost two decades to face capital punishment.
Both these individuals are scheduled for hanging this week due to their involvement in trafficking small quantities of heroin, in accordance with Singapore’s notoriously strict penalties for drug offenses.
The first execution is expected to take place on Wednesday, targeting a 56-year-old Singaporean Malay man who received the death sentence in 2018 for trafficking approximately 50g of diamorphine. He was served the execution notice just last week.
First Woman to Face Singapore’s Death Penalty in 2023 – Execution of Saridewi Djamani for Drug Trafficking Sparks Controversy
Following closely on Friday, authorities plan to execute a 45-year-old woman named Saridewi Djamani. A Singaporean national, she is the first woman to face the death penalty in a series of sentences this year.
In 2018, she was sentenced to death for trafficking around 30g of diamorphine.
Currently, Singapore’s prisons are holding nearly 60 inmates on death row, with a significant portion of them convicted of drug-related offenses.
The city-state continues to adhere to its zero-tolerance approach to drug crimes, which entails severe legal punishments. However, voices of concern and opposition are now rising, appealing for a reconsideration of the impending executions.
Amnesty International’s penalty expert, Chiara Sangiorgio, strongly criticized Singapore’s decision to proceed with more executions in the name of drug control, condemning it as unconscionable.
Sangiorgio highlighted that there is no evidence to support the notion that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect on drug-related crimes or that it curbs drug use and availability.
She pointed out that while many countries are moving away from the death penalty and adopting drug policy reforms, Singapore’s authorities remain steadfast in their approach.
Amnesty International Urges Singapore to Abolish Death Penalty and Address Human Rights Concerns
The expert emphasized that these executions send a clear message that Singapore is disregarding international safeguards concerning the use of the death penalty. Sangiorgio called for Singapore to change its course and abolish the death penalty altogether.
In addressing the underlying socio-economic factors contributing to drug trade participation, she urged the authorities in Singapore to take proactive measures.
Amnesty International called upon governments, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to exert pressure on Singapore to put an end to all executions and ensure drug control policies are in line with the promotion and protection of human rights.
Regarding the impending executions, Sangiorgio demanded an unequivocal condemnation of the punishment for the two individuals convicted of drug trafficking.
In the case scheduled for Wednesday’s execution, Transformative Justice Collective, an activism group advocating for reform in Singapore’s criminal justice system, claimed that the convict was coerced into making admissions by the investigating officer who had promised him a non-capital charge.
Similarly, in the second execution set for this week, the woman involved stated that she had experienced symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal and had not been in a clear state of mind during the period her statement was recorded, as per the collective.
Despite a High Court judge finding that the woman’s symptoms during the statement-taking period were minimal and not impairing her ability to give statements, the execution remains on schedule.
Last year, Singapore executed a total of 11 people in drug-related cases, resuming capital punishments since the pandemic began, sparking international concern.
The execution of a mentally disabled Malaysian man last year, whose IQ was measured at 69, triggered widespread international outrage and cast a spotlight on the country’s capital punishment practices, raising serious concerns about the violation of human rights norms.
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