Singapore executes two drug traffickers despite pleas for pardon

Singaporean Norashari bin Ghous, 48, and Malaysian citizen Kalwant Singh, 31, were sentenced to death on Thursday at the Changi prison complex, the Singapore Prison Service told CNN via email.

Their executions come just two months after an intellectually disabled man was hanged in Singapore for drug trafficking, bringing the total number of death sentences carried out in the country this year to four.

In a statement on Tuesday, Singaporean authorities said Norashari and Singh, both convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty, had exhausted their appeals.

Both men have been on death row for the past six years, while numerous activists called for clemency. The two executions “appear to be part of a new wave” of hangings in Singapore, Amnesty International in Malaysia said. statement earlier this week.

According to the Central Narcotics Bureau, both men were sentenced to death in June 2016. Singh was convicted of possession of 60.15 grams (2.1 ounces) of heroin and trafficking of 120.9 grams of the drug, while Norashari was found guilty of inciting a man to peddle 120.9 grams of heroin.

In Singapore, trafficking in a certain amount of drugs – for example, 15 grams (0.5 oz) of heroin – results in a mandatory death sentence under the Misuse of Drugs Act, although the law has recently been amended to allow the convicted person to avoid the death penalty under certain circumstances .

“Damages the image of Singapore”

In April, Singapore executed 34-year-old Malaysian citizen Nagaentran K. Dharmalingam in a case that caused international controversy after psychologists assessed that he was mentally retarded with an IQ of 69.

Dharmalingam was arrested in 2009 for trafficking 42.7 grams (1.5 oz) of heroin and later convicted and sentenced to death in 2010.

The Singapore courts rejected numerous appeals to have Dharmalingan’s execution overturned, in which his lawyers argued that he should not have been sentenced to death because he could not understand his actions.

The case has again brought the city-state’s anti-drug laws under scrutiny, with human rights activists arguing that the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking is an inhuman punishment.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Research, Emerlyn Gil, on Thursday urged Singapore to immediately impose a moratorium on executions. “Singapore has once again executed people convicted of drug-related crimes in violation of international law, callously ignoring public outcry,” Gill said.

Activists say tough drug laws in many Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, have done little to stem the region’s multibillion-dollar illegal drug trade.
“The Singapore government’s insistence on retaining and applying the death penalty has only led to global condemnation and casts a shadow on Singapore’s image as a developed country with the rule of law,” said the Asian Anti-Death Penalty Network. said in a statement dated 30 June.

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