World, Asia - Pacific

Singapore executes 2 for drug offences

38-year-old Nigerian national, 31-year-old Malaysian hanged early morning at Changi Prison Complex

Singapore executes 2 for drug offences

By Kirsten Han


Two men in their thirties were executed in the early hours of Friday morning in Singapore for drug offences.

The Central Narcotics Bureau confirmed that both Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a 38-year-old Nigerian national, and Devendran a/l Supramaniam, a 31-year-old Malaysian national, were hanged at Changi Prison Complex.

Obioha had been convicted of trafficking 2,604.56 grams of cannabis in 2008, while Devendran was convicted of trafficking 83.36 grams of diamorphine in 2014.

Under Singapore's laws, being found in possession of 500 grams or more of cannabis, or 15 grams or more of diamorphine, triggers the presumption that one is trafficking, and also attracts the mandatory death penalty.

Legal counsel for both men had separately filed criminal motions in court Thursday hoping to stay their executions.

All criminal motions were heard and dismissed by Singapore's apex court.

Obioha's case had attracted public statements from international and local groups calling on the Singapore government to halt his execution.

Amnesty International’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific had earlier called for clemency, underlining in a statement that the death penalty is never the solution.

"It will not rid Singapore of drugs. By executing people for drug-related offences, which do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, Singapore is violating international law," said Rafendi Djamin.

The call was echoed by the United Nations Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia, international human rights group the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), local abolitionist groups the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign and We Believe in Second Chances, as well as the European Union delegation in Singapore, alongside the Norwegian and Swiss embassies.

Little about Devendran's execution was previously known, however, prior to the event taking place.

It was only discovered in court yesterday evening, and officially confirmed by the authorities Friday morning after the execution had already taken place.

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