Singapore—The country’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) debunked allegations that Malaysian prisoners in particular are being targeted for execution, or capital punishment. MHA underlined that Singapore’s laws are equally applicable to offenders who are local and those who are foreigners.
A spokesperson from the Ministry on July 13, Saturday, said, “Regardless of nationality, all offenders, including prisoners sentenced to death, are accorded full due process under the law.”
The statement continued that every foreigner who chooses to go to or reside in the country must follow Singaporean laws, and if they break these laws, they should be ready to submit to them.
According to MHA, “Singapore has strong rule of law and an independent judiciary.”
On Friday, July 12, an article in Malaysian news outfit The Star Online focused on how four petitions for clemency from Malaysian drug convicts had been rejected in Singaporean courts just last week. The four Malaysians who had filed for clemency are Datchinamurthy Kataiah, Gobi Avedian, Abdul Helmi Ab Halim and Rahmat.
According to N. Surendran, the number of clemency rejections happening at the same time gave rise to queries as to whether or not these cases had been individually considered by President Halimah Yacob and the Singapore Cabinet.
Mr Surendran, who is an adviser for Malaysian human rights and law reform organisation, Lawyers for Liberty, has asked the government of Malaysia to intervene on behalf of the four prisoners, whom he says make up the “largest group of foreign nationals now facing execution in Changi”.
However, according to the MHA, every single petition for clemency is weighed according to its own merits. The statement from the Ministry also says that the President “acted on the advice of the Cabinet, in accordance with Article 22P of the Constitution, in not exercising the clemency power.”
The MHA added, “The use of capital punishment is an issue that every country has the sovereign right to decide for itself, taking into account its own circumstances. There is no international consensus against the use of the death penalty when it is imposed according to due process of law.
Singapore respects the sovereign right of other states to determine their own legal systems and expects the same in return.”
The Star Online reports Mr Surendran as having said in a statement on July 12, “The large and sudden number of clemency rejections are unprecedented and shocking. It indicates that Singapore is preparing for an execution binge, in total disregard of international legal norms and decent world opinion.
Singapore is doing so despite irrefutable evidence that hanging drug mules does not deter drug trafficking syndicates.”
In response to questions from the media, a spokesperson from the Ministry said the following day (July 13), “All foreigners who visit or live in Singapore must abide by our laws, and if they choose to break our laws, must be prepared to be subject to our laws. Singapore has a strong rule of law and an independent judiciary. Regardless of nationality, all offenders, including prisoners sentenced to death, are accorded full due process under the law.”/ TISG