Singapore to execute man over 1 kg of cannabis
A Singaporean man is scheduled to be hanged next week for conspiring to smuggle a kilogram of cannabis, rights groups said, in the city-state’s first execution in six months.
Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, will be sent to the gallows on Wednesday, according to a notice from the prisons department received by his family and posted on social media by rights activists.
Amnesty International condemned the decision on Friday, calling it “extremely cruel”.
“If carried out, this execution would be in violation of international law and in stubborn defiance of continued outcry over Singapore’s use of the death penalty,” a spokesperson from Amnesty’s regional office told AFP.
In many parts of the world — including in neighbouring Thailand — cannabis has been decriminalised, with authorities abandoning prison sentences, and rights groups have been mounting pressure on Singapore to abolish capital punishment.
The Asian financial hub has some of the world’s toughest anti-narcotics laws and insists the death penalty remains an effective deterrent against trafficking.
Tangaraju was convicted in 2017 of “abetting by engaging in a conspiracy to traffic” 1,017.9 grams (35.9 ounces) of cannabis, twice the minimum volume that merits the death sentence.
He was sentenced to death in 2018 and the Court of Appeal upheld the decision.
Prosecutors said he owned two mobile phone numbers used as contacts.
“What is especially troubling is that Tangaraju… never actually handled the drugs,” rights activist Kirsten Han told AFP.
“He was also questioned by the police without legal counsel, and said that he was denied a Tamil interpreter.”
High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng had said that anyone who abets the commission of a crime under the law shall also be guilty of that offence and liable to the same punishment.
Hoo said that “the charge against the accused had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Singapore resumed execution by hanging in March 2022 after a hiatus of more than two years.
Eleven executions were carried out last year — all for drug offences.
Among those hanged was Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, whose execution sparked a global outcry, including from the United Nations and British tycoon Richard Branson, because he was deemed to have a mental disability.
The United Nations says that the death penalty has not proven to be an effective deterrent globally and is incompatible with international human rights law, which only permits capital punishment for the most serious crimes.