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Singapore

    October 11, 2017

    Singapore’s continued reliance on mandatory death sentences, which violate international law, has meant that dozens of low level drug offenders have been sent to death row in recent years, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    Cooperate or Die also reveals how death penalty reforms introduced in 2013, while reducing the number of people sentenced to death, do not go nearly far enough and in particular have left life and death decisions in the hands of the public prosecutor instead of judges.

    “Singapore likes to paint itself as a prosperous and progressive role model, but its use of the death penalty shows flagrant disregard for human life. The country relies on harsh laws that overwhelmingly target drug offenders on the lower rungs of the ladder, many of whom will come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Adviser.

    “The reforms introduced in 2013 were a step in the right direction and have allowed some people to escape the gallows, but in key respects they have been flawed from the outset.

    July 14, 2017
      Responding to the news of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan’s execution in Singapore today, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific said:   “This execution is a shocking violation of the human right to life. That this cruel punishment has been administered after a trial filled with flaws makes this flouting of international law all the more disturbing.  “That an appeal was pending on this case in his home country at the time of execution, and that there were serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, underlines a flagrant disregard for due process in profoundly dubious circumstances.”   Background   Prabagaran Srivijayan was convicted of drug trafficking and given a mandatory death sentence in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine was found in the arm rest of a car he borrowed. He has consistently maintained his innocence.  
    July 11, 2017
      The Singaporean authorities must halt the imminent execution of a Malaysian man convicted of importing drugs amid serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, Amnesty International said today.   Prabagaran Srivijayan’s execution has been scheduled for this Friday, 14 July 2017, according to his family who were informed last week. Prabagaran Srivijayan was convicted of drug trafficking and given a mandatory death sentence in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine was found in the arm rest of a car he borrowed. He has consistently maintained his innocence.   “There are only four days left to save Prabagaran Srivijayan’s life before he is cruelly dragged to the gallows. The Singaporean authorities must immediately halt his execution before another person suffers this inhumane and irreversible punishment,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.  
    November 18, 2016

    Reacting to the executions of Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian national, and Devendran Supramaniam, a Malaysian national, by the Singapore authorities, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Singapore authorities have brazenly violated international law with these shameful executions. The death penalty is a cruel and irreversible punishment that most of the world has turned its back on. Singapore continues to remain an outlier, executing people for crimes that do not meet the ‘most serious’ threshold to which the death penalty must be restricted under international law.

    November 16, 2016

    Singapore must immediately halt the execution of Chijoke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian national on death row for possession of drugs, Amnesty International said today.

    On Wednesday, Chijoke Stephen Obioha’s family was informed that his appeal for clemency has been rejected. He is set to be executed on Friday 18 November 2016.

    “The Singapore government still has time to halt the execution of Chijoke Stephen Obioha. We are dismayed that clemency has not been granted in his case but remain hopeful that they won’t carry out this cruel and irreversible punishment against a person sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for a crime that should not even be punished by death,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    November 14, 2016

    The Singapore government must grant clemency to a Nigerian man set to be executed for drug trafficking next week, Amnesty International said.

    Chijioke Stephen Obioha will be hanged on 18 November unless President Tony Tan commutes his death sentence, which was imposed as the mandatory punishment for trafficking.

    “Singapore is a week away from brutally ending the life of Chijioke Stephen Obioha for a crime that international law and standards make clear should not be punished by death,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia.

    “Time is running out for President Tan to step in and prevent this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment from being carried out. He must use his power to grant clemency before it is too late.”

    Chijioke Stephen Obioha was found in possession of more than 2.6 kilograms of cannabis in April 2007, surpassing the amount of 500 grams that triggers the automatic presumption of trafficking under Singapore law.

    August 16, 2016

    Singapore’s Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill is a broad and vaguely worded law that will impose yet another undue restriction on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

    “Under the guise of protecting the judicial system, the new law threatens to criminalise people for criticising the courts or the administration of justice in Singapore,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    The new law, which was passed by Singapore’s parliament yesterday, includes punishments of up to three years in jail and $100,000 (US) in fines.

    Several sections in the new law grant the authorities far-reaching powers to crack down on any discussion, debate and criticism of cases under review by the judiciary.

    Section 11 of the Act, for example, widens the scope of already stifling restrictions on what can be said or written on the internet. All material that can be accessed by people in Singapore, regardless of whether it originated from there, can be subjected to the new legislation.

    May 20, 2016

    Amnesty International condemns the execution of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national convicted of murder, mere hours after his last chance for a reprieve was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

    "It is disgraceful that Kho Jabing's was executed, particularly with such indecent haste, after his final appeal was denied this morning," said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

    “Clemency should have been granted, more so given the uncertainty and divided opinion surrounding Kho Jabing's fate over the past six years. Singapore is at a crossroads. It must decide whether it wants to join most of the world by protecting human rights and ridding itself of the death penalty, or remain among the minority of countries that insist on the implementation of this cruel and inhumane punishment."

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    May 19, 2016

    The Singapore authorities should immediately halt the execution of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national convicted of murder, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization calls on the President of Singapore to grant clemency immediately. Kho Jabing was granted a temporary stay on 19 May 2016, mere hours before he was scheduled to be executed the following morning.

    “Any execution would mark a regressive step at a time when Singapore has made significant strides in terms of reducing the implementation of the death penalty,” said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

    “By granting clemency, President Tony Tan would build on these gains and move Singapore closer to the global trend towards abolition of this cruel practice.”

    Kho Jabing’s next hearing will take place at 9am on 20 May 2016, when his lawyers will be presenting arguments for a constitutional challenge to elements of the mandatory death penalty.

    October 29, 2015

    The Singaporean authorities must immediately halt the imminent execution of 31-year-old Malaysian national Kho Jabing amid concerns his death sentence was re-imposed at the last stage and on the basis of a disputed reconstruction of the circumstances of the crime, Amnesty International said today.

    “We urge the President of Singapore to immediately halt Kho Jabing’s execution and reconsider the decision to reject his clemency application. The decision to take his life is based on disputed facts and even the country’s Apex Court was divided on the life and death decision in his case. With no legal avenues left, clemency is the only way to safeguard Kho Jabing’s life,” said Josef Benedict, Campaigns Director for South East Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International.

    In 2010 Kho Jabing and a co-defendant were charged with murder, punishable at the time by the mandatory death penalty. After Singapore reviewed its mandatory death penalty laws in 2012 and allowed sentencing discretion for unintentional murder, the High Court resentenced Kho Jabing to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane, but the prosecution appealed.  

    March 23, 2015

    On the passing on Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the family of Lee Kuan Yew and others who mourn his passing.”

    “Lee Kuan Yew more than anyone else built modern Singapore, and his legacy will be unrivalled economic progress and development. There is, however, a dark side to what he leaves behind – too often, basic freedoms and human rights were sacrificed to ensure economic growth. Restrictions on freedom of expression and the silencing of criticism is still part of the daily reality for Singaporeans.”

    “Lee Kuan Yew’s passing, just a few months short of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, happens just as the country enters a new era. We urge the next generation of leaders to ensure that this is marked by genuine respect for human rights.”

    July 18, 2014

    Singapore has taken a reprehensible U-turn by executing the first two prisoners since 2011, Amnesty International and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) said today.

    Tang Hai Liang, 36, and Foong Chee Peng, 48, were executed today at Singapore’s Changi Prison Complex. They had been convicted and mandatorily sentenced to death for drug-related offences in January and April 2011 respectively under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

    “The executions by hanging of Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng represent a massive leap backwards for human rights in Singapore,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Singapore researcher.  

    “It is extremely disappointing that the authorities have taken a U-turn on a moratorium on executions and did not build on their clean record of no executions over the past two years to push for more reforms in the country.”  

    Non-lethal crimes such as drugs offences do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty may be imposed under international law.

    December 18, 2013

    The Singapore authorities must prevent arbitrary deportation for 53 migrant workers set to be expulsed for their involvement in a riot, Amnesty International said today.

    Singapore said the mainly Indian labourers would be "repatriated", while another 28 workers face criminal charges for their part in the unrest earlier this month.

    “The Singapore authorities are moving too quickly – these men should not be arbitrarily deported as they have a right to due process," said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International's Asia Pacific deputy director.

    "Those charged must have access to a lawyer and be provided with interpreters if necessary. Their right to a fair trial should be respected, and if some are convicted, it is crucial that their sentence should not include caning, which is a cruel and inhuman punishment.."

    Singapore's first riots for more than 40 years broke out on 8 December after an Indian construction worker was knocked down and killed by a bus in the Little India district.

    Dozens, including police officers, were injured in the ensuing violence.

    November 14, 2013

    The reduction of a death sentence to life imprisonment for a convicted drug trafficker in Singapore is a landmark step, but must now be followed by continued reforms, Amnesty International said today.

    Yong Vui Kong, a 25-year old Malaysian man, has been on death row in Singapore since he was arrested on drug charges six years ago . A High Court in Singapore today reduced his death sentence to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane.

    “This is a landmark ruling, and possibly the first time in history that someone sentenced to death under Singapore’s draconian drugs laws has had their sentence commuted,” said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International’s East Asia Research Director. 

    Under Singapore’s laws at the time of his sentencing, Yong Vui Kong’s possession of 47g of heroin amounted to drug trafficking and warranted the mandatory death penalty, which is prohibited under international law. 

    Legislative amendments to abolish the mandatory imposition of the death penalty under certain circumstances of murder and drug trafficking were adopted by the Singaporean Parliament on 14 November 2012.

    February 07, 2013

    Four Chinese migrant bus drivers could face up to a year in prison and steep fines for allegedly instigating a strike unless the Singapore authorities immediately drop the charges against them, Amnesty International said ahead of a pre-trial hearing for the men on 8 February.

    The drivers – He Jun Ling, 32, Gao Yue Qiang, 32, Liu Xiangying, 33, and Wang Xianjie, 39 – were charged with violating section 10(a) of the Criminal Protection (Temporary Provisions) Act and allege that they were ill-treated in custody. If the men are found guilty, besides jail time, they face possible fines of up to S$2,000 (US$1,615) each – nearly twice their monthly wage.

    The four men were among 171 Chinese migrant bus drivers who took part in a “strike action”, by refusing to go to work and staying inside their company-run living quarters on 26 November 2012. Along with 84 others they continued the work stoppage into the following day. The industrial action was the first in more than two decades in Singapore, where the law prohibits organizing a strike in essential sectors such as public transport without 14 days’ advance notice.

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