The authorities of Singapore are poised to resume hangings, after a two-year hiatus linked to pending appeals and the COVID-19 pandemic. In violation of international law and standards, several people who were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for drug-related offenses are facing imminent execution, and more executions may follow. The Supreme Court has been petitioned to halt the executions and there are concerns on the use of the death penalty on those with mental and intellectual disabilities. The government of Singapore must halt all scheduled executions, commute these sentences, and establish an official moratorium on all executions as a first step towards full abolition of the death penalty.
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Ambassador HE Ashok Kumar Mirpuri
3501 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 537 3100 I Fax: 1 202 537 0876
Email: [email protected]
Dear Prime Minister,
I urge you to immediately halt the resumption of executions in Singapore.
If these executions go ahead, they would constitute violations of international human rights law and standards, which would render them unlawful.
In the past weeks, in violation of international law and standards, numerous people who have been sentenced to the mandatory death penalty have received notices of execution.
As you will be aware, international law and standards set out restrictions on the use of the death penalty to protect against the arbitrary deprivation of life. These include the prohibition against imposing this punishment as a mandatory sentence; for offences that do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” involving intentional killing; and after proceedings that do not meet the highest standards for a fair trial. Violations of all of these safeguards appear present in all these recent cases.
The Singapore government must build on the two-year hiatus of executions and take steps to reform the death penalty, instead of pursuing new executions. Singapore is one of four countries known to have carried out executions for drug-related offences in recent years. Due to the country’s highly repressive drug control law, judges are not allowed to take into consideration possible mitigating circumstances at sentencing, including drug dependence or other circumstances relevant to the case. Unfortunately, Singapore’s highly punitive drug policies have failed not only to tackle the use and availability of drugs in the country, but also to offer effective protection from drug-related harm.
I urge you to immediately halt all scheduled executions, commute these men’s sentences and establish an official moratorium on all executions as first step towards full abolition of the death penalty.