Singapore executed a woman for the first time in 20 years on Friday, and hanged its second convict this week for trafficking drugs regardless of the opposition to awarding death sentence for drug-associated crimes.
Another execution will be conducted next week, activists said. In 2018, 45 year old Saridewi Djamani, was sentenced to death for smuggling around 31 grams (1.09 ounces) of diamorphine, also called pure heroin, according to the Central Narcotics Bureau. It stated the drug was “sufficient to feed the addiction of about 370 abusers for a week.”
According to the Singapore law, the death penalty is given to a person accused of trafficking more than 500 grams (17.64 ounces) of cannabis and 15 grams (0.53 ounces) of heroin.
Djamani’s execution followed two days after a 56 year old Singaporean man, Mohammed Aziz Hussain, was convicted for trafficking nearly 50 grams (1.75 ounces) of heroin.
Both convicts were in due process, during which they appealed for their conviction and requested for presidential clemency.
Singapore was urged to cease the executions for drug-related crimes by human rights groups, international activists and the United Nations and claimed that there is immense proof that it’s not enough to control such crimes. Singapore believes capital punishment is useful to end the demand and supply for drugs. Since the time it resumed execution in March last year, 15 people have been hanged for drug offences, with an average of one convict a month.
In 2004, the last convict executed in Singapore was Yen May Woen, a 36-year-old hairdresser, for drug trafficking, activists said.
A new execution notice has been released for another convict to be hanged on August 3, according to Singapore group called Transformative Justice Collective, which works to cease capital punishment.
The group said it is a Malay citizen who earned his living as a delivery driver prior to his arrest in 2016. In 2019, he was convicted for trafficking around 50 grams (1.75 ounces) of heroin, it said.
During his trial, the man stood firm on what he believed he was tasked to deliver contraband cigarettes to a friend he was in debt to and he did not check what he was carrying as he trusted his friend. Though he was just a carrier, the court sentenced him to death, the group said. The group “condemns, in the strongest terms, the state’s bloodthirsty streak” and urged a ban on the death penalty.
As per the critics, Singapore anti-drug law barely punishes low level traffickers and couriers, who come from marginalised groups. They say Singapore is also out of step with the trend of more countries moving away from capital punishment. Its neighbour’s, Thailand has legalised cannabis and Malaysia has abolished the death penalty for such crimes in 2023.