Singapore hanged one man for a drug smuggling conspiracy – despite the United Nations’ calls to stop it.
Tangaraju Suppiah, who was found guilty of conspiring with Malaysian neighbours to smuggle in a kilogram of marijuana into the country, was hanged Wednesday morning at dawn.
Authorities in Singapore have denied the claim that protesters had claimed the 46-year old, who denied being involved in the plot, was convicted based on weak evidence.
Prior to the incident, relatives and activists sent letters to Singapore President Halimah Yaccob pleading for leniency.
Richard Branson, a British entrepreneur and British ambassador to the United Nations, described the case as “shocking”.
Transformative Justice Collective, a local group which had also campaigned to overturn Tangaraju Suppiah’s death sentence said that he was hanged at Changi Prison on Wednesday.
The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network has condemned the execution, calling it “reprehensible”.
The statement stated that “the continued use of death penalty by Singaporean government is a flagrant disregard of international human rights standards and casts doubt on Singapore’s criminal law system.”
Singapore’s antidrug laws are among the most strict in the world. Those who traffick more than 500 grams cannabis could face the death penalty.
In Singapore, 11 drug offenders were executed last year.
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Malaysia, a neighboring country, abolished the mandatory death penalty earlier this month.
Singapore’s government, however, maintains that the death penalty is needed to protect its citizens. All those executed were given full due process according to the law.
Authorities say that their strict laws also have a deterrent impact. A study has shown that many traffickers carry less than the amount that would result in a death sentence.
Although Tangaraju Suppiah wasn’t caught with cannabis, prosecutors claimed that phone numbers linked him to the person who coordinated the delivery of drugs.
He claimed that he did not communicate with anyone else involved in the case.
A Monday application for a stay was denied without hearing on Tuesday.
Richard Branson, a British billionaire and longtime opponent of the death penalty, criticized the case.
In a post he shared on his blog before the execution, he said: “Tangaraju’s case is shocking in multiple ways.
“Singapore’s long and troubled past of execution of drug offenders is a result of mandatory sentencing laws which proscribe the death sentence for certain threshold quantities of drugs.
The government of the country has claimed repeatedly that its draconian drug laws are an effective deterrent to crime.
The authorities of Singapore have consistently failed to produce any tangible evidence in support of this assertion.