FEATURED POST

Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

Image
Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Singapore executes Prabagaran Srivijayan

Singapore's Changi Prison
Singapore's Changi Prison
SINGAPORE: A Malaysian national, Prabagaran Srivijayan, was executed on Friday (Jul 14) at Changi Prison after being sentenced to death in 2014 for importing 22.24g of heroin, or diamorphine, into Singapore.

He was arrested in April 2012 at Woodlands Checkpoint after two packets of the drug were recovered from the Malaysian-registered vehicle that he was driving, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said in a press release.

Singapore’s highest court on Thursday dismissed an eleventh-hour motion to halt his execution.

In dismissing the motion, Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Andrew Phang and Tay Yong Kwang called the attempt to halt Prabagaran’s execution because of proceedings in another country “an abuse of process”.

Prabagaran’s lawyer had filed a motion on Tuesday seeking to delay the execution on the basis that the Malaysian has an appeal pending before the Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur. 

“The judiciary of each country is entitled to act in accordance with its Constitution and its laws," Judge Chao said. "No judiciary of one country interferes in the judicial process of another country."

The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine imported is more than 15g.

CNB said that 22.24 grams of diamorphine is equivalent to about 1,853 straws, which is sufficient to feed the addiction of about 265 abusers for a week.

Source: channelnewsasia.com, July 14, 2017


Singapore brushes aside calls for clemency, executes Malaysian drug trafficker


Prabagaran Srivijayan
Prabagaran Srivijayan
SINGAPORE has executed a Malaysian man convicted of drug trafficking after his lawyers had failed in their eleventh-hour bid to seek clemency from the government.

Malaysian daily The Star quoted We Believe in Chances – a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that called for a halt to Prabagaran Srivijayan’s execution – as saying the death row inmate was hanged to death at Changi Prison 6am today.

“The family is collecting his body now,” the NGO’s co-founder, Kirsten Han, was quoted as saying.

According to The Star, the city-state’s court of appeal had rejected an application by the 29-year-old’s lawyers, saying Prabagaran had received due process and that the application was an “abuse of process”.

Han also said Prabagaran’s body would be cremated at a crematorium in Singapore on the same day of his death.

In 2012, Prabagaran, who worked at a petrol station in Johor Baru, Malaysia, was given a mandatory death sentence following his conviction for carrying 22.24g of diamorphine, or heroin. He was arrested in April that year after Customs officials at the Woodlands checkpoint discovered the drugs in an armrest of a car he borrowed while trying to cross the border from Malaysia to Singapore.

Throughout the trial, Prabagaran maintained his innocence, insisting he was not aware of the drug being in the car.

Prabagaran’s lawyers in March 2017 launched a case in Malaysia urging the government to seek the intervention of the International Court of Justice.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International had earlier raised alarm bells over concerns about the fairness of his trial, questioning the way in which Singapore implements its drug laws. Under Singaporean law, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecutor to the defendant in drug possession and trafficking cases.

The watchdog said drug-related crimes did not fall under “most serious crimes” category and that international law and standards must prohibit the use of the death penalty for such cases.

Since Singapore ended a moratorium on executions in 2014, the authorities have executed at least 10 people, including seven for drug offences. In 2016, four people were executed – two for murder and two for drug trafficking – while at least 38 people were known to be on death row at the end of that year.

At present, 103 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and 141 are abolitionist in law or practice.

Source: Asian Correspondent, July 14, 2017


Singapore: Malaysian executed for drugs conviction after unfair trial


Responding to the news of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan’s execution in Singapore today, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific said:

“This execution is a shocking violation of the human right to life. That this cruel punishment has been administered after a trial filled with flaws makes this flouting of international law all the more disturbing.
“That an appeal was pending on this case in his home country at the time of execution, and that there were serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, underlines a flagrant disregard for due process in profoundly dubious circumstances.”


Background


Prabagaran Srivijayan was convicted of drug trafficking and given a mandatory death sentence in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine was found in the arm rest of a car he borrowed. He has consistently maintained his innocence.

Prabagaran Srivijayan’s legal team have raised serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, including the authorities’ failure to follow up leads and call on key witnesses that would corroborate his version of events.

His legal representatives also launched a case in Malaysia in March 2017 to urge the country to seek the intervention of the International Court of Justice, with an appeal on the matter still being considered at the Court of Appeal. International safeguards for death row prisoners clearly state that the death penalty must not be carried out while appeals are pending.

An application for a stay of execution was filed at the Singaporean Court of Appeal but dismissed on 13 July.

Source: Amnesty International, July 14, 2017


UN Condemns Execution of 29-Year-Old Malaysian While Some Singaporeans Celebrate a Job "Well Done"


The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia has condemned Singapore for the execution of 29-year-old Malaysian Prabagaran Srivijayan who was hanged this morning after being convicted for importing 22.24 grams of diamorphine - a raw form of heroin - into Singapore in 2014.

Prabagaran was executed after the Court of Appeals rejected an 1th hour motion to delay the execution, under the basis that an appeal Prabagaran's lawyer had submitted to halt the execution was still pending at the Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur.

In dismissing the motion yesterday, Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Andrew Phang and Tay Yong Kwang called the attempt "an abuse of process" before stating:

"The judiciary of each country is entitled to act in accordance with its Constitution and its laws. No judiciary of one country interferes in the judicial process of another country."

The UN office said on its Facebook page:

"We deeply regret that so far in 2017, there have been at least 4 executions in Singapore for drugs related offences. This is an increase on previous full-year statistics. According to Singapore Prison authorities, there were 2 executions for drugs related offences in 2014, three in 2015 and 2 in 2016.
"We are concerned that death row inmates and their families are given very short notice of the date of the scheduled execution. In most cases they have been notified only a few days in advance. We are also concerned that executions continue to be carried out in a secretive manner, with no public information on the number of people on death row in Singapore and little public information on the executions that have taken place.
"We reiterate our position that drugs related offences are not considered as a 'most serious crime' under international law and should not carry the death penalty. We also reiterate previous calls to the Singaporean government to immediately instate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which we believe has no place in the 21st century."

Prabagaran's mother has maintained that her son was innocent.

A widow, she has repeatedly stated that the car that her son was driving did not belong to him and that he did not even know there were drugs in the car until he was stopped at Woodland Checkpoint in 2012:

"They could not find his fingerprints on the drugs, or that he had consumed any but the judge ruled him guilty by stating that the car belonged to him."

Meanwhile, despite the doubts that have been cast upon the legitimacy of Prabagaran's conviction, some netizens have lauded the Singapore justice system for not budging from their position of sentencing Prabagaran to an irreversible fate, as a job "well done".

Source: theindependent.sg, July 14, 2017


Activists slam pre-execution photoshoot


Screenshot from 'Apprentice', by Jufeng Boo (2016)
Screenshot from 'Apprentice', by Jufeng Boo (2016)
They say the practice is inhumane and morbid, while being insensitive to the grief and anguish one has to endure when on death row.

N Surendran has slammed the practice in Singapore which has death-row inmates take part in a photoshoot "a day or 2" before they are sent to the gallows, labelling it "inhumane".

The lawyer who represented the family of S Prabagaran, the Malaysian who was hanged in Singapore for drug trafficking, also said the act was morbid.

"It shows the harshness of Singaporean authorities to treat a person like that. They (death-row inmates) are not dolls," he told FMT.

He was asked to comment on a tweet by We Believe in Second Chances co-founder Kirsten Han who uploaded a picture of a smiling Prabagaran.

"This was taken of Prabagaran this week as part of the pre-execution prison photoshoot. Photos are then given to the family," she wrote.

In a subsequent tweet, Han said that while the practice seemed morbid, she had heard that some relatives find it comforting to have photos of loved ones "out of prison garb".

Human rights activist Michelle Yesudas said although a smiling photo might be some comfort to a grieving family, staging a pre-execution photoshoot is insensitive to the grief and anguish one has to endure when on death row.

"The death penalty and a pre-execution photo shoot are archaic, morbid and inhumane practices that have no place in the modern world," she said.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said it is unusual and "weird" for a country to have such a practice.

"It's a bit unusual for me, but every country has its own jurisdiction," said Paulsen.

Channel NewsAsia reported that Prabagaran was executed at Changi Prison on Friday morning after he was convicted in 2012 for being in possession of 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin.

Authorities discovered the drug in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint as he tried to enter the country.

Prabagaran said he was innocent, claiming that he did not own the car and was not aware of the drugs being in it.

Earlier this year, he turned to the Malaysian courts to compel the government to start legal proceedings against Singapore before an international tribunal for denying him a fair trial.

On March 24, Prabagaran failed to obtain leave at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to compel the Malaysian government to start proceedings against Singapore.

Earlier, Surendran said Singapore's Court of Appeal had dismissed Prabagaran's application to stay his execution pending his case in the Malaysian courts.

He told FMT the appeals court had ruled that Singapore is a sovereign nation and that it would not wait for the outcome of proceedings in Malaysia.

Source: freemalaysiatoday.com, July 15, 2017


Singapore Hangs 29-Year-Old Malaysian For Drug Trafficking. Everything You Should Know


Prabagaran's mother mourning over her son's body.
Prabagaran's mother mourning over her son's body.
There were calls from the United Nations and others to pause his execution.

A Malaysian national, Prabagaran Srivijayan, was executed at the Changi Prison in Singapore, in the wee hours of Friday morning

Prabagaran was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore.

The 29-year-old was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint on 12 April 2012, with two packets containing 22.24g of diamorphine (pure heroin), that were recovered from a Malaysian-registered car he was driving, Bernama reported.

While Prabagaran had said that he borrowed the car from a friend to enter Singapore that day because he was afraid that his motorcycle would be repossessed, on 22 July 2014 the High Court convicted him of importing 22.24g of diamorphine into Singapore.

He was eventually sentenced to death by the High Court two months later.

Prabagaran had brought his case to appeal against the conviction to the Court of Appeal a total of three times, but all his appeals were dismissed. While Prabagaran always maintained his innocence, he ultimately accepted that he would be executed.

According to Kirsten Han, the co-founder of We Believe in Second Chances, a Singapore-based group that fights against the death penalty, the 29-year-old always maintained his innocence, however, he accepted his fate.

"Those who were with him said he was jovial and joking with the prison guards even as the end neared," Kisten added.

While the Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau claims that Prabagaran was accorded full due process under the law, Amnesty International criticised the execution saying the trial was "unfair".

James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific said: "This execution is a shocking violation of the human right to life. That this cruel punishment has been administered after a trial filled with flaws makes this flouting of international law all the more disturbing.

"That an appeal was pending in this case in his home country at the time of execution, and that there were serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, underlines a flagrant disregard for due process in profoundly dubious circumstances."

According to Amnesty International, one of the things that show how it was an unfair trial as the authorities failed to follow up leads and call on key witnesses that would corroborate Prabagaran's version of events. He consistently maintained his innocence.

Prabagaran, at the time of his arrest and during his trial, always said that the car he was driving belonged to other individuals and that he was not aware of the presence of the drugs in the car. Based on which, Prabagaran's legal team raised serious concerns about the fairness of his trial.

Amnesty International Malaysia, in a tweet, called it a "dark day".

Source: says.com, Sadho Ram, July 15, 2017

🔎 Recommended reading: Once a Jolly Hangman, Singapore Justice in the Dock, July 23, 2016. Once dubbed by The Economist as the world execution capital, Singapore is believed to have one of the highest per capita rates of execution of any country worldwide, thus remaining totally out of step in the move regionally and internationally towards a death penalty-free world. A historic momentum is building from which Singapore chooses to exclude itself. Singapore justifies its use of capital punishment on utilitarian grounds: the government says that the drug problem in Singapore would be much worse if those caught smuggling drugs, as [Australian drug mule] Van Nguyen was, were not killed by the State. How curious then that this logic does not extend to cases where Singapore's diplomatic or trade interests are involved...

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Comments

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Execution date set for Missouri inmate with rare condition

Iran: Prisoner Hanged in Public

Cruel and Unusual: A Second Failed Execution in Ohio

Record 11 Taiwanese sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug crimes

Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Former Virginia death row inmate Joseph Giarratano granted parole

South Carolina's 1st execution in 6 years set for Dec. 1

UAE: Man who raped, killed eight-year-old boy Obaida executed

Charles Manson Was Sentenced to Death. Why Wasn't He Executed?