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Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Singapore Executes Woman For The First Time In 20 Years

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For the first time in 20 years, Singapore has decided to execute a woman, who is one of the two drug convicts to be hanged this week, rights groups said on Tuesday, urging the authorities to prevent the execution.

On Wednesday, a man aged 56 convicted of trafficking 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of heroin is set to be hanged at the Southeast Asian city-state’s Changi Prison, said Transformative Justice Collective (TJC), a local rights organisation.

TJC identified a 45-year-old woman convict as Saridewi Djamani who will be hanged on Friday. In 2018, she was given a death sentence for smuggling 30 grams of heroin.

She would be the first woman in 20 years to be executed in Singapore, since 2004 when Yen May Woen, a 36-year-old hairdresser at the time, was executed for drug trafficking, said Kokila Annamalai, a TJC activist.

Both prisoners are natives of Singapore and their families have been provided notices with the dates of their executions, TJC said.

In Singapore, certain crimes, including murder and some forms of kidnapping, may attract the death penalty. It also has one of the world’s most stringent anti-drug laws, such as trafficking more than 500 grams of cannabis and 15 grams of heroin leads to the death penalty.

Around 13 people have been executed ever since the government reinstated the executions following a two-year break in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amnesty International also urged Singapore to halt the executions on Tuesday.

In a statement, Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty’s death penalty expert, said, “It is unconscionable that authorities in Singapore continue to cruelly pursue more executions in the name of drug control. There is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect or that it has any impact on the use and availability of drugs.”

She added, “As countries around the world do away with the death penalty and embrace drug policy reform, Singapore’s authorities are doing neither.”

Singapore believes that the death penalty is an effective measure to reduce such crimes.

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