HomeWorld NewsSingapore executes two drug traffickers despite pleas for clemency

Singapore executes two drug traffickers despite pleas for clemency

Singaporean Norasharee bin Gous, 48, and Malaysian national Kalwant Singh, 31, were sentenced to death at Changi Prison Complex on Thursday, the Singapore Prison Service told CNN in an email.

Their executions come just two months after Singapore controversially hanged an intellectually disabled man for drug trafficking and brings the total number of death sentences carried out by the country this year to four.

In a statement on Tuesday, Singapore authorities said Norasharee and Singh – both convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty – had exhausted their legal remedies.

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

According to the Central Narcotics Bureau, the two men were sentenced to death in June 2016. Singh had been convicted of possession of 60.15 grams (2.1 ounces) of heroin and trafficking 120.9 grams of drugs , while Norasharee was convicted of soliciting a man for trafficking 120.9 grams of heroin.

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

‘Dingy the image of Singapore’

In April, Singapore executed Malaysian citizen Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 34, in a case that sparked international outcry following the assessment by psychologists that he was intellectually disabled with an IQ of 69.

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

Singapore courts rejected several appeals to quash Dharmalingan’s execution, in which his lawyers argued that he should not have been sentenced to death because he was unable to understand his actions.

The case has brought the city-state’s zero-tolerance drug laws under scrutiny, with human rights advocates saying the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking is an inhumane punishment.

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

Campaigners say strict drug laws in many Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, have done little to stop the multi-billion dollar illicit drug trade in the region.
“The Singapore government’s persistence in maintaining and using the death penalty has only led to worldwide condemnation and tarnishes Singapore’s image as a developed nation governed by the rule of law,” the official said. Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network in a June 30 statement.

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