SINGAPORE has executed a Malaysian man convicted of drug trafficking after his lawyers had failed in their eleventh-hour bid to seek clemency from the government.
Malaysian daily The Star quoted We Believe in Chances – a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that called for a halt to Prabagaran Srivijayan’s execution – as saying the death row inmate was hanged to death at Changi Prison 6am today.
“The family is collecting his body now,” the NGO’s co-founder, Kirsten Han, was quoted as saying.
According to The Star, the city-state’s court of appeal had rejected an application by the 29-year-old’s lawyers, saying Prabagaran had received due process and that the application was an “abuse of process”.
Han also said Prabagaran’s body would be cremated at a crematorium in Singapore on the same day of his death.
In 2012, Prabagaran, who worked at a petrol station in Johor Baru, Malaysia, was given a mandatory death sentence following his conviction for carrying 22.24g of diamorphine, or heroin. He was arrested in April that year after Customs officials at the Woodlands checkpoint discovered the drugs in an armrest of a car he borrowed while trying to cross the border from Malaysia to Singapore.
Throughout the trial, Prabagaran maintained his innocence, insisting he was not aware of the drug being in the car.
— AI Malaysia (@AmnestyMy) July 14, 2017
Prabagaran’s lawyers in March 2017 launched a case in Malaysia urging the government to seek the intervention of the International Court of Justice.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International had earlier raised alarm bells over concerns about the fairness of his trial, questioning the way in which Singapore implements its drug laws. Under Singaporean law, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecutor to the defendant in drug possession and trafficking cases.
The watchdog said drug-related crimes did not fall under “most serious crimes” category and that international law and standards must prohibit the use of the death penalty for such cases.
Since Singapore ended a moratorium on executions in 2014, the authorities have executed at least 10 people, including seven for drug offences. In 2016, four people were executed – two for murder and two for drug trafficking – while at least 38 people were known to be on death row at the end of that year.
At present, 103 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and 141 are abolitionist in law or practice.