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It is wrong for the State to kill drug addict who trafficks drugs to feed his addiction

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By: Eugene Thuraisingam

We were approached by Mohd Jeefrey to act for him after his trial and the dismissal of his appeal. He had been sentenced to death for drug trafficking.

Jeefrey was 47 years of age at the time of his alleged offence. He was a drug addict. Upon his arrest, his urine sample tested positive for heroin and methamphetamine.

He was alleged to have and was convicted of delivering drugs to feed his own drug habit. It was the Prosecution’s case that he would be paid in packets of heroin or in cash each time he made a delivery.

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The Prosecution, represented by Mr Eugene Lee, conceded that Jeefrey was a ‘courier’ under section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act. The Prosecution however did not issue him with a certificate of cooperation. The trial Judge, Justice Tay Yong Kwang, who convicted Jeefrey had therefore no choice but to sentence Jeefrey to death. This was despite the fact that it was undisputed that Jeefrey was a heroin addict and a mere ‘courier’ who was delivering drugs to feed his addiction.

We applied to the Court of Appeal to challenge the constitutionality of section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act as it gave the Prosecution (and not the Judge) the power to decide who lives and who dies by the issuance or non issuance of the certificate of cooperation.

Our arguments were rejected by the Court of Appeal.

We received news on Monday that Jeefrey’s petition for clemency was turned down. We understand that he is scheduled to be executed tomorrow.

We are sad to hear this. A father, a grandfather is to lose his life. He may have committed a crime, but his death is not going to undo the crime. His death is unlikely to deter other heroin addicts desperate to feed their addictions from being exploited into drug trafficking activities. That is the sad reality of being a heroin addict.

He is a jovial and caring man. He would always refer to his handcuffs as his ‘rolex’ whenever I visited him in prison to take his instructions. He would sometimes sing for me.

I think it is completely unjust and wrong for a drug addict who trafficks drugs to feed his addiction to be killed by the State. The responsibility for his death must rest squarely on the law minister and his cabinet as they have the power to recommend that his sentence be commuted to life imprisonment instead. They have chosen not to exercise their power in this case.

I humbly ask you, as you read this to think about whether what the State is doing is correct or not. You may disagree with my view and I accept that. All I ask is that you read this and think about it and share this post with your friends.

Express a view either in agreement or disagreement, it does not matter. Your expressing a view may make a difference, perhaps not in this case, but for the next Jeefrey.


Eugene Thuraisingam is a lawyer who practices at Eugene Thuraisingam LLP.

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