Singapore executes 2 despite opposition to death penalty

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Singapore executed a Malaysian and a Singaporean citizen for smuggling drugs to the city-state on Thursday.

Kalwant Singh, a 32-year-old from Malaysia, and Norasharee Gou, from Singapore, were both convicted in the same case in 2016 for trafficking heroin into Singapore.

Singh launched a last appeal Wednesday, with his lawyers arguing that he provided authorities with information that helped them arrest an alleged drug smuggler.

But a three-judge panel dismissed the appeal, saying officials did not use any of Singh’s information to arrest a key suspect.

Kirsten Han, a prominent Singaporean human rights activist, told the AFP news agency that Singh’s sister had been given the death certificate and that Gou’s family had taken his human remains to a mosque.

Singapore executes more people, despite mounting pressure

Singapore’s tough death penalty code drew international attention after authorities executed a mentally disabled man this April for bringing a small amount of heroin to the country in 2009.

His case drew international attention as the European Union and celebrities like Richard Branson called on Singapore to commute his sentence to a non-capital punishment.

But Singapore defended its decision, saying the man had been given a fair trial.

A total of four people have been executed in Singapore since March, which is when authorities resumed the death penalty after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic. 

Human rights group Amnesty International condemned the executions Thursday, saying they were a “blatant violation of human rights.”

“We urge the Singaporean authorities to immediately stop this latest wave of hangings and impose a moratorium on executions as a step towards ending this shameful and inhuman punishment,” Emerlynne Gill, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for research in Southeast Asia, said in a statement.

The organization said that Singapore remains an outlier when it came to executing people for drug-related offenses, saying it was just one of four countries known to have done so in recent years.

Singapore has repeatedly defended the death penalty by saying the law was needed to keep people safe, though critics have alleged that strict punishment has done little to deter drug traffickers.

rm/fb (AP, AFP)

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