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U.S. | Execution by nitrogen hypoxia doesn’t seem headed for widespread adoption as bills fall short and nitrogen producers object

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The day after Alabama carried out the first-known US execution using nitrogen gas, its attorney general sent a clear message to death penalty states that might want to follow suit: “Alabama has done it, and now so can you.” Indeed, in the weeks immediately following the January execution of Kenneth Smith, it appeared a handful of states were listening, introducing bills that would adopt the method known as nitrogen hypoxia or a similar one. Officials behind each framed the legislation as an alternative method that could help resume executions where they had long been stalled.

Singapore | 11 Executions in 2022, all over drug-related offences

SINGAPORE - There were 11 judicial executions in 2022, and none in the previous two years, according to figures released by the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) on Thursday.

All were over drug-related offences.

One of the high-profile cases involved Malaysian Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for importing 42.72g of heroin the year before in a bundle strapped to his thigh.

The law provides for the death penalty if the amount of heroin trafficked is more than 15g.

His mother had failed in an 11th-hour attempt to halt his rescheduled execution in April 2022.

The total number of executions in 2022 is the second highest in a year since records were kept in 2007.

There were 13 judicial executions in 2018, according to the Government’s Open Data Portal – 11 for drugs and two for murder.

SPS said no death sentence was carried out from 2020 to 2021, but not because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There are various factors involved in the scheduling of executions, including whether there are pending court proceedings affecting the offenders.

“For some of the inmates, the legal processes relevant to their death sentence have not yet been completed, and for others, there have been a few legal applications taken out on their behalf, or which could affect them.

“Executions will only be scheduled after these are resolved,” said SPS.

In 2022, an 11th-hour attempt was made to stave Nazeri Lajim’s execution.

He was caught in 2012 in possession of not less than 35.41g of diamorphine or heroin, which was later reduced to 33.39g when he claimed he had intended to keep some of the drugs for his own consumption.

Three days before his scheduled execution, the 64-year-old filed an application seeking a court declaration that the prosecution’s decision to charge him with a capital offence was in breach of his constitutional rights.

The Court of Appeal dismissed his application and Nazeri was hanged on July 22.

The Nagaenthran case gained international attention, with headlines focusing on the offender’s alleged intellectual disability.

In September 2022, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that there was strong support for the death penalty in the country.

Three studies conducted or commissioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs showed that more than seven in 10 people here support the use of the death penalty for the most serious crimes such as intentional murder, use of firearms and drug trafficking.

And more than eight in 10 regional residents outside of Singapore believe the death penalty here deters such serious crimes.

Source: straitstimes.com, Samuel Devaraj, February 9, 2023


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