Singapore on Thursday morning hanged two convicted drug traffickers, including Kalwant Singh, a 32-year-old Malaysian man of Punjabi descent who was convicted in 2016 of smuggling heroin into the city. Gauss, 48.
Kalwant Singh is the second Malaysian of Indian descent to be hanged by the Singapore authorities in the last three months; Nagentharan Dharmalingam, 34, was executed in April for drug trafficking. Singapore has executed four people so far this year, despite calls for the death penalty to be abolished.
“Singapore has once again executed people convicted of drug-related offenses in violation of international law, ignoring public outrage,” said Emerlin Gill, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for research.
“The death penalty is never the solution and we unconditionally oppose it. There is no evidence that it acts as a unique deterrent to crime,” Gill said in a statement.
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A Singapore court on Wednesday rejected a last-minute plea by Kalwant Singh, whose lawyers argued that he provided information that helped arrest a key suspected drug trafficker.
The Central Bureau of Narcotics said the appeal was dismissed because it did not use the information it provided. “We are rejecting the stay application …” said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.
The anti-death penalty Asia Network also intervened in Singh’s favor, sending a letter to the Singapore embassy requesting that the death sentence be suspended. It was also mentioned that Kalwant Singh was forced to supply drugs to Singapore to repay a football gambling loan.
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In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking 15 grams or more of pure heroin. However, if the offender only acts as a courier and cooperates with the authorities, a judge can commute the sentence to life imprisonment. A co-accused in Kalwant Singh’s case, the news agency AFP, said his sentence was reduced after he cooperated with investigators.
In April, Singapore executed Dharmalingam, who had been on death row for more than a decade. He was convicted of trafficking about 43 grams of heroin.
Critics say the death penalty in Singapore has largely trapped low-level mules and has done little to stop drug traffickers and organized syndicates. But the Singapore government protects it to protect its citizens.
With input from AP