SINGAPORE: Anti-death penalty activists have revealed that the authorities have issued yet another execution notice – the third in the span of eight days – amid two hangings that took place this week.
On Wednesday (July 26), 56-year-old Mohd Aziz bin Hussain was hanged by the state. Two days later, on Friday morning (July 28), 45-year-old Saridewi binte Djamani was executed. Both Singaporeans were convicted of trafficking heroin.
Aside from being the first known execution of a woman in almost 20 years, Ms Saridewi’s hanging was the 15th execution for drug offences since 30 March 2022 – indicating an alarming average of an execution a month.
There were many appeals from the loved ones of those on death row and calls for compassion by local and international activists.
The Transformative Justice Collective (TJC), a local group advocating for criminal justice reform and the abolition of the death penalty, confirmed this week that another execution has already been scheduled for 3 August.
The death row inmate, a Singaporean Malay man, previously worked as a delivery driver before his arrest in 2016. In 2019, he was convicted of trafficking approximately 50g of heroin.
TJC has said that he received the mandatory death penalty despite maintaining throughout his trial and appeal that he believed he was delivering contraband cigarettes on behalf of a friend to whom he owed money. The prisoner claims he did not check the bag’s contents as he trusted his friend, who had promised to deduct from his debt if he completed the delivery.
The court did not find his explanation convincing enough to rebut the presumption of knowledge. TJC said: “The judge ruled that he had failed, on a balance of probabilities, to rebut the presumption of knowledge.
“This presumption clause in the Misuse of Drugs Act states that, if someone is found in possession of drugs, it is presumed that they knew the nature of the drugs unless they can convince the court that this presumption is more likely than not to be wrong.
The latest execution notice has intensified the debate surrounding the country’s stance on capital punishment. The issue continues to draw national and international attention, with human rights activists around the world urging the Singapore government to reconsider its approach to justice and human rights.
Concerned groups like the TJC, Amnesty International and other anti-death penalty coalitions in Asia, Australia and Europe have signed an open letter, strongly condemning Singapore’s continuous implementation of the death penalty and demanding an immediate moratorium on its use.
The execution scheduled for next week will mark the fifth execution in Singapore this year alone if it proceeds as planned. /TISG