Singapore hangs prisoner over 1 kg of cannabis. Despite rights organizations criticizing “many flaws” in the case, Singapore hanged a prisoner on Wednesday after he was found guilty of conspiring to smuggle one kilogram of cannabis.
Tangaraju Suppiah was hanged despite requests from British businessman Richard Branson and the United Nations Human Rights Office urging Singapore to “urgently reconsider” the decision.
The financial capital of Asia has some of the strictest anti-drug legislation in the world and maintains that the death penalty is still a powerful deterrent against trafficking.
“Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, had his capital sentence carried out today at Changi Prison Complex,” a spokesman for the Singapore Prison Service told AFP.
Singapore hangs prisoner over 1 kg of cannabis.
Tangaraju was convicted in 2017 of “abetting by engaging in a conspiracy to traffic” 1,017.9 grams (35.9 ounces) of cannabis, twice the minimum volume required for a death sentence in Singapore, the spokesman said.
He was given a death sentence in 2018, and the Court of Appeal upheld it. However, rights organizations have alleged that the case had a number of flaws.
Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said the evidence “was far from clear cut – since he never actually touched the marijuana in question, was questioned by police without a lawyer, and denied access to a Tamil interpreter when he asked for one.”
He added the hanging “raises serious concerns that Singapore is launching a renewed spree to empty its death row in a misguided effort of deterrence.”
Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director Ming Yu Hah said there were “many flaws” in the case and that the hanging showed “the staggering failure of Singapore’s stubborn embrace of the death penalty.”
The Singaporean government has insisted that Tangaraju received a fair trial and that his guilt was established beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, “the evidence clearly showed that he was the person who was coordinating the delivery of drugs, for the purpose of trafficking.”
Tangaraju was “not anywhere near” the narcotics at the time of his arrest, according to Branson, a member of the Geneva-based Global Commission on Drug Policy, who also said that Singapore may be poised to execute an innocent man.
The government criticized Branson on Tuesday, saying the businessman had displayed “disrespect for Singapore’s judges and our criminal justice system with such allegations.”
Cannabis use is no longer considered a crime in various regions of the world, including Thailand, which is next door.
The United Nations has stated that the death penalty is inconsistent with international human rights law and has not been shown to be a globally effective deterrent, despite the pressure from rights groups on Singapore to abolish it.
In March 2022, Singapore resumed executions after a break of more than two years. In the city-state, Wednesday’s hanging was the first in six months and the 12th overall since last year.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was one of them hung, and his death provoked outrage from the United Nations and Richard Branson because it was determined that he had a mental illness.