Iran | Man Saves Mother’s Murderer Before Own Execution

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 29, 2023: Morad Biranvand was executed for drug-related charges in Khorramabad Central Prison. Prior to execution, he granted forgiveness to his mother’s murderer, saving his life from death row. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a man was executed in Khorramabad Central Prison on 29 November. His identity has been established as 40-year-old Morad (Allah) Biranvand who was on death row for drug-related charges.

Singapore | "Capital punishment for drug trafficking essential to saving more lives": Minister

SINGAPORE - The death penalty is not something that any government can start off wanting, but rather, the Government must be sure that this is essential to saving more lives, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.

If it cannot be sure the death penalty is essential to saving more lives, then the Government should not have the death penalty, he said to 80 youth leaders during a dialogue on drugs and the death penalty held at the Asian Civilisations Museum on Wednesday night.

Mr Shanmugam kicked the dialogue session off with this observation, before going into the evidence supporting the need for the death penalty.

This included looking at how other countries and states were adversely affected by decriminalising drugs, as well as a survey which showed that 66 per cent of Singaporeans said the mandatory death penalty is appropriate for drug trafficking.

Another Ministry of Home Affairs survey among those from the region where most arrested drug traffickers originated from in recent years, showed that 87 per cent believed capital punishment deterred people from trafficking large amounts into Singapore.

“For public policymaking, you need compassion, a soft heart, but you need a hard head,” said Mr Shanmugam.

He explained that one needs a hard head to analyse, understand and try to explain policy decisions, but one also needs a soft heart for compassion. “Then the question is how you marry the two,” he said.

Mr Shanmugam said he believed that an overwhelming majority of people in Singapore today support the current drug policies.

“If a majority of Singaporeans feel that this policy ought to be changed, and they feel strongly enough that if the Government doesn’t change the policy, they will change the Government,” said Mr Shanmugam to the young people who attended the session organised by MHA and National Youth Council (NYC).

He added: “A meeting like this is for me to explain to you what goes in my mind as a policymaker, and hopefully persuade you that there are some good reasons why we are doing this - so that even if you are not completely convinced when you leave the room, at least you’re convinced that we are not irrational.”

Responding to a participant who asked how Singapore can address the moral and ethical implications of capital punishment, when it involves the irreversible decision of taking a human life by the state, Mr Shanmugam reiterated that he respected the ideological differences of those who say that is it immoral for the state to take away lives.

“I’m not saying that’s wrong, but it’s a position based on ideology. It’s based on values,” he said.

“I come from slightly different values, which is a state’s obligation is to ensure safety and security within Singapore and to save lives. And my policies save more lives than they take away, and a lot more lives. A lot more lives which actually would be lost.”

Mr Shanmugam added: “Once we discuss it along the lines of ideology, then you just have to agree to disagree.”

Asked if he had met inmates on death row, Mr Shanmugam shared that when he was a practising lawyer, he had worked on a criminal case pro bono.

He and a criminal lawyer he worked with got the trafficker’s charge reduced, and the man avoided the gallows.

“His life was saved, he went in for a number of years. I’ve talked to drug traffickers I can’t say I’ve talked to too many drug traffickers on the death penalty. It’s always a difficult thing when people are caught for... any crime.”

He added that his Ministry had spent a lot of effort on crime prevention, as well as rehabilitation in prison and after they are released.

Asked why the President rarely granted clemency, Mr Shanmugam said that those on death row had gone through the entire legal process and been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“On what basis does the cabinet then recommend clemency? Basically, then you will be subverting the judgment of the court and the law... So it’s very very exceptional circumstances something has happened after the penalty was imposed,” he said.

Asked why the death penalty is mandatory instead of leaving the decision up to the courts to decide if a drug trafficker should be hanged, Mr Shanmugam said he could not put the judges in such an “impossible position”.

“The judges themselves told us they don’t want that. They prefer the law to be they just have to impose it. No judge wants that responsibility. On what basis would he decide?” Mr Shanmugam questioned.

He added that the drug laws would be unworkable otherwise.

“It’s harsh. You have to have it, you have to be clear about it. And you have to make it clear to everybody that this is what will happen, in order for it to have a deterrent effect. Once there are question marks around it, then more people take a chance.”

Source: straitstimes.com, Jean Lau, September 21, 2023





"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted."

— Oscar Wilde

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