Singapore—Last-minute efforts to halt the execution of a Malaysian national scheduled for execution on Friday (Sept 18) seem to have worked, at least for now.
According to his lawyer M Ravi, the High Court ordered an interim stay of execution for the death sentence of Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin, 44, who was arrested on Aug 3, 2011, and later found guilty of possession for the purpose of trafficking of 38.84 grams of diamorphine.
UPDATE : The High Court has ordered an interim stay of execution of the death sentence of Suhail pending the filing of…
The ruling in Mr Syed’s case said that he had been unable to prove that the drugs in his possession were for consumption, as he had been in financial straits at that time. According to court documents, he had also sold a S$5,700 packet of heroin to someone else.
He was convicted and sentenced to death, which was supposed to take place on September 18.
Mr Ravi, who took the case pro bono, wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday (Sept 17) that the interim stay of execution is “pending the filing of his appeal papers by 4pm today to the Court of Appeal and subsequently until the appeal is heard by the Court of Appeal against the ruling of the Learned High Court Judge in dismissing the Judicial Review Application which was heard this morning.”
“In short Suhail will not be executed tomorrow,” the lawyer added.
Mr Ravi had heard about the case from a friend of Mr Syed only last Monday, and filed a Judicial Review application in the High Court for a stay of execution on Wednesday (Sept 16).
He wrote in the application that the direction to execute Suhail “violates his right to equality guaranteed under Article 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore because the Singapore Prison Service has effected a differential treatment between foreigners and Singaporeans in carrying out the death sentence as the execution of foreigners has been halted due to the Covid-19 situation”.
In today’s update to the case, Mr Ravi wrote that the Court of Appeal is not available to hear the appeal on Friday and that they will be informed when the hearing date has been scheduled.
The lawyer also wrote that the Senior Counsel on the case Francis Ng (Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Crime Division), said that the “High Court does not have the power to grant the stay of execution since warrant of execution has been signed,” both the Judge (Justice See Kee Oon) and Mr Ravi disagreed with him.
Meanwhile, a mercy petition put together by concerned citizens on change.org appealing for President Halimah Yacob to spare Mr Syed’s life is quickly gaining traction.
The petitioners wrote:
We argue for this based on the grounds that:
1. The accused has maintained that the drugs in his possession were not for trafficking and only for his personal consumption to serve his own addiction and dependence on heroin.
2. Drug addiction is a medical condition that must be recognised in court and serve as a mitigating factor against capital punishment.
3. Capital punishment is a cruel and ineffective punishment. There is no evidence that it works better than any other punishment in deterring crime.