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Singapore | 9-year-old girl asks President Halimah for clemency for father on death row

Changi prison
In her letter, Rizwan Akbar’s daughter told President Halimah Yacob that she was writing “since I need my father,” and that she has been waiting for “7-8 years”

On Wednesday (Nov 4), the Transformative Justice Collective published a heartbreaking letter from a 9-year-old girl to President Halimah Yacob asking for clemency for her father, currently on death row.

A letter from a 9-year-old girl to Singapore President Halimah Yacob, asking for her father, Mohammad Rizwan bin Akbar Husain, who is on death row, to be granted clemency.

Her father, 38-year-old Mohammad Rizwan bin Akbar Husain, was convicted of “abetting by instigating another person to be in possession of not less than 301.6g of diamorphine for the purpose of trafficking”.

He is one of the people behind a 2013 drug deal who brought illegal substances from Malaysia to Singapore in a trailer. His car was present when the drugs were brought to Singapore.

He was not caught at the scene of the crime but was arrested in Malaysia 1 week after the drug deal and turned over to Singaporean officials. 

Mr Rizwan had escaped from Singapore in the trunk of a car.

Along with 2 others, Mr Rizwan was found guilty of drug trafficking in March 2018, and he and fellow accused Saminathan Selvaraju received the death sentence. 

The other accused was considered to be only a courier in the crime and had a certificate of substantive assistance from the Prosecution, and therefore was given a sentence of life imprisonment.

Mr Rizwan appealed his sentence, introducing new evidence that someone else had borrowed his car and that he had been falsely identified on the night of the crime. The Court of Appeal judges rejected these arguments, however.

On May 8 of this year, his death sentence was upheld.

According to the Transformative Justice Collective, a clemency petition to President Halimah Yacob has been filed. The group describes itself as “a collective committed to seeking the reform of Singapore’s criminal justice system, starting with the abolition of the death penalty.”

In her letter, Mr Rizwan’s daughter told President Halimah Yacob that she was writing “since I need my father,” and that she has been waiting for “7-8 years.”

She went on to write that she has blown out her candle “every single year for my birthday” asking Allah to let her father come home from prison.

“I miss him too much. I hope he will come back on my next birthday. But he didn’t.”

She also told of an incident last month, during the mid-autumn festival, when she and her friends put their lanterns at Petir Park in Bukit Panjang. She wished again for her father to come home. When she returned, the lantern was gone, leading her to say to herself, “Did Allah heard me (sic)?”

The daughter, whose name has been redacted on Transformative Justice Collective’s post, also wrote about her relationship with her father, who asks her about her daily life, interests, prayers.

She wrote that her father teaches her “all the things I don’t know yet about my religion.”

“I have always been interested in his story’s (sic),” she added.

The young girl ended the letter with this touching plea, ”Sometimes I will cry reaching home… pls get him out I beg as I lied (sic) on my bed crying. So pls let my father out I miss hm (sic) too much. I want to see hm (sic) before he or me die I need him. Pls let him out.”

Source: theindependent.sg, Staff, November, 2020

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