Singapore continues to use the death penalty as another citizen is executed for cannabis trafficking, prompting calls for change from activists.
Singapore Hangs Another Person Over Selling Drugs
Singapore remained steadfast in its use of the death penalty despite increasing appeals to halt drug-related executions, as another citizen was hanged on Wednesday for trafficking cannabis, marking the second such execution in three weeks.
According to Kokila Annamalai, an activist from the Transformative Justice Collective, which advocates for the death penalty dissolution in Singapore, the 37-year-old man was executed after his last-minute attempt to reopen his case was dismissed by the court without a hearing on Tuesday.
Although the man’s family requested privacy and his name was not disclosed, Annamalai revealed that he spent severn years in prison and was convicted in 2019 for trafficking approximately 3.3 pounds of cannabis.
His appeal to reopen the case was based on DNA evidence and fingerprints that linked him to a smaller amount he admitted to possessing.
The Appeal Was Rejected
However, the court rejected his appeal. Singapore’s laws stipulate that trafficking over 1.1 pounds of cannabis may result in a death penalty.
Annamalai expressed concern about the continuation of executions, “If we don’t come together to stop it, we fear that this killing spree will continue in the weeks and months to come.” She added around 60 prisoners, primarily convicted of drug-related offenses, currently await execution in the city-state.
Just three weeks ago, Tangaraju Suppiah, a Singaporean citizen, was executed for cannabis trafficking, even though he was not caught with the drugs. Prosecutors relied on phone records linking him to coordinating the delivery of the drugs, an accusation he denied.
Activists Push Back on Singapore’s Rules
Various human rights groups, including British entrepreneur Richard Branson and the United Nations, have urged Singapore to cease executions for drug-related offenses, arguing the death penalty is ineffective as a deterrent.
However, Singaporean authorities maintain that all prisoners receive due process and defend capital punishment as “part of Singapore’s comprehensive harm prevention strategy which targets both drug demand and supply.”
Amnesty International highlighted that aside from Singapore, Indonesia executed 112 individuals for drug-related offenses by firing squad last year, resuming the practice after a pause since 2016. In contrast, neighboring Thailand legalized cannabis, and Malaysia abolished mandatory death penalties for serious crimes.
Since Singapore began executions again in March 2022 following a hiatus of over two years, and to date thirteen individuals on death row have been hanged.
The execution of Tangaraju Suppiah drew international criticism, with rights groups pointing out numerous flaws in the case. However, the Singaporean government maintained that his guilt had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Activists continue their efforts to advocate for the abolition of capital punishment in Singapore, emphasizing its lack of proven effectiveness as a crime deterrent.
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