Asia - Pacific

UN experts condemn Singapore for execution

Experts urge immediate moratorium on capital punishment in Singapore

29.04.2023 - Update : 30.04.2023
UN experts condemn Singapore for execution


UN experts condemned Singapore on Friday for executing a man accused of “abetting” and “conspiracy to traffic drugs.”

A statement from the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner urged the government to impose an immediate moratorium on capital punishment.

“The death penalty can only be carried out after a legal process with every possible safeguard that ensures a fair trial, including legal representation at every stage of proceedings and necessary interpretation in all oral proceedings,” according to UN experts.

"The rate of execution notices for drug-related offences in Singapore was highly alarming,” they said.

Singapore executed Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, in Changi Prison on Wednesday, despite calls for clemency.

The statement said Tangaraju was executed despite claims he had not been provided adequate interpretation during police interrogations and was subsequently convicted of drug trafficking.

“States that have not yet abolished the death penalty may only impose capital punishment for the ‘most serious crimes,’” the experts said. “Under international law, only crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing can be considered as ‘most serious’. Drug offences clearly do not meet this threshold,” said the experts.

The experts also raised questions about the death penalty law in Singapore and urged the government to review it without delay.

“Any measures to abolish the death penalty should be seen as progress towards the realisation of the right to life. By extension, the resumption of executions results in less protection of the right to life,” they said.

Tangaraju was sentenced to death in 2018 for allegedly aiding the trafficking of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cannabis.

The public prosecutors had charged Tangaraju with “coordinating the of the drugs” after investigating others in the case who are said to have provided a phone number, alleged to be of Tangaraju, although he was not caught with cannabis.

He denied his involvement.

Relatives and activists sent letters to President Halimah Yacob, appealing for clemency.

Tangaraju’s execution was the first in Singapore this year and the 12th since last year.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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