KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Singapore hanged another citizen Wednesday for cannabis trafficking, its second in three weeks, as it stuck to the death penalty despite growing calls for the city-state to end drug-related executions.
The 37-year-old man was sentenced to death after a court on Tuesday rejected his latest bid to reopen his case without a hearing, said activist Kokila Annamalai of the Transformative Justice Collective, which advocates for the abolition of the death penalty in Singapore.
The man, who has not been named because his family has asked for privacy, was jailed for seven years and sentenced in 2019 for trafficking about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of cannabis, he said. His bid to reopen his case was based on DNA evidence and fingerprints linking him to a much smaller amount of money he admitted to possessing, but the court rejected it, he added. Under Singapore law, trafficking more than 500 grams (1.1 pounds) of cannabis can result in the death penalty.
“If we don’t come together to stop this, we fear these killings will continue for weeks and months to come,” he said. About 600 inmates have been executed in the city-state, mostly for drug-related crimes, he added.
Last year, Singapore executed 11 people for drug-related offenses after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The execution of a Malaysian man believed to be mentally disabled has sparked international outrage and put the country’s death penalty under scrutiny for floating human rights standards.
Three weeks ago, Singaporean Thangaraju Supiah, 46, was hanged in the year’s first execution for trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cannabis, despite not being caught with the drug. Prosecutors said the phone numbers identified him as the person responsible for coordinating the supply of the drugs, which he denied.
Human rights groups, British tycoon Richard Branson and the United Nations have called on Singapore to end executions for drug-related crimes as mounting evidence shows the death penalty is ineffective as a deterrent. But Singaporean authorities insist that all prisoners receive due process of law and that the death penalty remains “part of Singapore’s comprehensive harm prevention strategy that targets both drug demand and supply”.
Apart from Singapore, Amnesty International said Indonesia carried out 112 drug-related executions last year, after a hiatus since 2016.
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