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Singapore

    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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