Hangings have resumed in Singapore for drug related offenses, after Abdul Kahar bin Othman was executed on March 30, and Malaysian national Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was executed on April 29, while on April 28, a third one was stayed. The executions of Malaysian national Kalwant Singh and another man are scheduled for July 7. Both men were convicted of and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, in violation of international law and standards. The government of Singapore must halt these executions, commute all existing death sentences and review national legislation to bring its use of the death penalty in line with international law and standards as urgent first steps towards full abolition of the death penalty.
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His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
Office of the Prime Minister
Istana, Singapore 238823
Email: [email protected]
; [email protected]
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 deeply regret that executions continue to be scheduled in Singapore, including for cases where the death penalty has been imposed in violation of prohibitions set out under international human rights law and standards. The resumption of executions in Singapore after more than two years is a major setback and I urge you to immediately halt any further executions and review national legislation to bring it in line with international human rights law and standards, as first urgent steps towards abolition.
I am astonished by Singapore’s continued resort to the death penalty for drug-related offences and as mandatory punishment, which are practices not only prohibited under international law and standards, but abandoned by the majority of the world’s countries. Against Singapore’s international commitments undertaken as a state party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a man with intellectual and mental disabilities has been executed. Several concerns on the fairness of the proceedings have further tainted the use of the death penalty against those convicted of drug trafficking.
International law and standards set out restrictions on the use of the death penalty to protect against the arbitrary deprivation of life.
I urge the Singapore government to take urgent steps to reform the death penalty laws, instead of pursuing further 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 drug control law, judges are very limited in their ability 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 such as addressing root causes of drug use and adopting a health-based approach to drugs.
I urge you to immediately halt all executions, commute the sentences for those currently on death row, and establish an official moratorium on all executions as first step towards full abolition of the death penalty.