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The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to resume the death penalty after a more than 15-year moratorium. This week Attorney General William Barr proposed fast-tracking executions in mass murder cases, and last month ordered the execution of five death row prisoners beginning in December. The federal government has executed just three people since 1963 — the last being in 2003. The death penalty is widely condemned by national governments, international bodies and human rights groups across the world. Experts say capital punishment does not help deter homicides and that errors and racism in the criminal justice system extend to those sentenced to death. We speak with Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known anti-death-penalty activist who began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. …

Singapore says most drug traffickers Malaysians, will not go easy on them

Screenshot from "Apprentice" by Boo Junfeng, 2016
It is “not tenable” for Singapore to go easy on Malaysian drug offenders who are caught on the Singapore side of the causeway, the island's Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam, said today.

Speaking at the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) Workplan seminar, he noted the case of Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, the Malaysian who was granted a stay of execution yesterday by the Court of Appeal, saying he was accorded full due process at every stage.

The 31-year-old was convicted of trafficking 51.84g of heroin at Woodlands Checkpoint in September 2014.

"You bring in 51, 52 grams of pure heroin, it is equal to over 4,000 straws of heroin, and [it] feeds hundreds for a week. A person like that is a dealer in death, no two ways about it,” Shanmugam said, but did not go into specific details as the case is before the courts.

He pointed out that a majority of Singaporeans supported a tough anti-drug stance, including the use of the death penalty against drug traffickers.

Last week, the results of a study by the Ministry of Home Affairs showed 69.6 per cent of Singaporeans polled indicated that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for criminals who traffic a large amount of drugs.

"It is not tenable to give a special moratorium to Malaysians, and impose it on everyone else, including Singaporeans who commit offences which carry the death penalty," Shanmugam said. 

The minister added that nearly 30 percent of drug traffickers caught in Singapore last year were Malaysians and nearly 30 percent of the heroin found, by weight, was brought in by Malaysians. One in five of the heroin traffickers who brought in amounts that attracted the death penalty were Malaysians too, he said.

"How do we go easy on Malaysians in the face of these stats? And if we did, what will it mean for the rule of law? It will become a joke if there is a request made and we go easy. That is not the way Singapore works," he said.- Channel News Asia.

Source: thestandard.com.hk, Staff, May 24, 2019


‘Not tenable’ for Singapore to go easy on Malaysian drug offenders, says its minister


It is “not tenable” for Singapore to go easy on Malaysian drug offenders who are caught on its side of the Causeway, said Singapore’s Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam today, reported Channel News Asia.

Speaking at the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) Workplan seminar, Shanmugam mentioned the case of Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, the Malaysian who was granted a stay of execution on Thursday by the Singapore Court of Appeal, saying he was accorded full due process at every stage.

Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong told the Malay Mail on Friday that he was “pleased to know of the stay of execution” for Pannir Selvam and had liaised with counterparts in Singapore with the blessings of Malaysia’s Foreign Office.

Shanmugam gave some observations about drug traffickers coming from Malaysia. He said that there are some from Malaysia’s ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition who are “ideologically opposed” to the death penalty and that they “have to respect that position”.

“At the same time, we do impose the death penalty in Singapore, and I expect that Malaysia will respect that position as well,” he said.

Singapore received three requests from Malaysia to intervene in executions since the Harapan government came into power a year ago, and two of these were drug traffickers, he added.

He pointed out that a majority of Singaporeans supported a tough anti-drug stance, including the use of the death penalty against drug traffickers.

Screenshot from "Apprentice" by Boo Junfeng, 2016The result of a study by the Ministry of Home Affairs last week showed that 69.6 per cent of Singaporeans polled indicated that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for criminals who traffic a large amount of drugs.

“It is not tenable to give a special moratorium to Malaysians, and impose it on everyone else, including Singaporeans who commit offences which carry the death penalty,” Shanmugam said.

Shanmugam said he intends to write back to his counterpart Liew to discuss ways to address this issue of cross-border drug offences and to “get to the root of the problem”.

One of the things he wants to bring up is to find out how many drug offenders are picked up by Malaysian authorities on their side of the Causeway.

He said it would be good for both sides if drug traffickers were caught by Malaysian authorities, as the offenders can be dealt with according to Malaysia’s laws and not have to worry about Singapore’s capital punishment.

He will also ask about efforts to catch drug kingpins operating from Malaysia who are “too scared” to come into Singapore.

“We have good cooperation with Malaysian agencies; they do a good job, we cooperate effectively. And I hope they can be given every support, and we can get more evidence on the other kingpins operating in Malaysia to be picked up,” Shanmugam said.

Another thing he wants to suggest is to publicise Singapore’s laws regarding drug offences to communities in Malaysia that may be more susceptible to being lured to bring drugs into Singapore.

“(The message would be) don’t traffic (drugs) into Singapore. And if you do, these are the consequences,” Shanmugam said.

Source: Malaysiakini, Agencies, May 24, 2019


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