The various attempts by anti-death penalty activists and several lawyers yesterday (20 May) failed. Barely a few hours after the Court turned down the application to suspend the execution, Kho Jabing was killed. The hanging happened at 3.30pm, which activists say is a break from long-standing protocol where death-row inmates are hung at dawn on a Friday.
The United Nations has condemned the execution of Jabing. The UN Special Rapporteurs on Summary Executions and on Torture have said that Kho Jabing’s actions did not meet the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’ and that his execution is a violation of the right to life.
Meanwhile this is how a local newspaper, The Straits Times (ST), reported a lawyer’s attempt to save Jabing’s life at the last hour: “The judges convened overnight after lawyer and opposition politician Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss filed a last-minute appeal late on Thursday night.”
Singapore’s Ambassador-at-large, Bilahari Kausikan too in a Facebook post suggested that the attempt to save the Sarawakian’s life by the lawyers who acted for him was politically motivated.
He said: “This politically motivated 11th hour attempt to stay execution is despicable. If there were no new facts or arguments, they must — unless they were totally incompetent lawyers — have known that the appeal would fail. So they raised false hope in Mr Kho’s family and perhaps in Mr Kho himself for their own political agenda. That is completely cynical and ought to be condemned. If you agree, share this.”
A lawyer who assisted Ms Chong-Aruldoss in her attempts to save Jabing’s life, Mr Choo Zhengxi, has written a Facebook post in part to set straight the unfair aspersions cast on the lawyers who took up the case of the condemned man.
“On 19 May 2016, two lawyers accepted a seemingly hopeless brief: to stave off the execution of a condemned man.
In the best traditions of the bar, Jeannette and Alfred stepped into the breach and argued their client’s case with vigour.
The mainstream media has taken great pains to highlight Jeannette’s political affiliations, spotlighting the fact that she is an “opposition lawyer”. I don’t recall the mainstream media spotlighting the affiliations of PAP MPs acting for unpopular clients. The media is insinuating that Jeannette is somehow politicizing or using this case for capital.
This smearing is unfair, untrue and dangerous. Those casting aspersions today might well need lawyers with courage when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law.” – Mr Choo Zhengxi
The Ambassador and ST failed to cast such aspersions on People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs like Murali Pillai who defended a fraudulent bank twice in the Court. In that particular case, Mr Pillai acted for the bank a second time in the appeal when the bank was found fraudulent by the High Court earlier.
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