Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Singapore. Executions are carried out by long drop hanging, and usually take place at dawn. 33 offences— including murder, drug trafficking, terrorism, use of firearms and kidnapping — warrant the death penalty under Singapore law.
In 2012, Singapore amended its laws to exempt some offences from the mandatory death sentence. In a survey done in 2005 by The Straits Times, 95% of Singaporeans believe that their country should retain the death penalty. The support steadily fell throughout the years due to the increasing liberal opinions of society. Despite the decline, a large majority of the public remains supportive of the use of the death penalty, with more than 80% of Singaporeans believing that their country should retain the death penalty in 2021.
The most recent execution to be conducted in Singapore was on 7 October 2022, when a 55-year-old Singaporean convicted of a drug trafficking charge was executed at dawn. So far, eleven executions took place in Singapore in 2022.
Hangings always take place at dawn and are by the long drop method. The Singapore government has affirmed its choice of execution in favour of other methods.
It is a normal practice for everyone present in the courtroom to stand and remain silent before the death sentence is passed. The judge will then proceed to announce the death sentence on the accused, who has been found guilty and convicted of the capital offence. The condemned will be given notice at least four days before execution. In the case of foreigners sentenced to death, their families and diplomatic missions or embassies will be given one to two weeks' notice.
Underaged and pregnant offenders
Persons under the age of 18 at the time of their offence and pregnant women cannot be sentenced to death.
Previously, offenders under 18 at the time of their offences would be indefinitely detained at the president's pleasure (TPP), with the normal period of detention having been between 10 and 20 years. These inmates would be released after receiving clemency from the President of Singapore, once they were assessed to be suitable for release.
In 2010, the law was amended to allow judges to mete out life imprisonment to offenders convicted of capital offences, but aged below 18 at the time of their crimes. They would be required to serve a minimum of 20 years before they can be reviewed for possible release. As for women who were pregnant at the time of their sentencing, they would automatically be sentenced to life imprisonment upon their conviction of any capital offences, though there have been no such cases as of yet.
Offenders of unsound mind
Persons proven to be of unsound mind when they commit capital crimes, once found guilty, are not be given the death penalty. Previously, they were sentenced to another form of indefinite detention under TPP, being detained at medical facilities, prisons or at some other safe places in custody, and subject to psychiatric review of their mental conditions until suitable for release.
Pre-1970 jury trials
Before they were abolished in 1970, jury trials were conducted to hear capital cases in Singapore since the British colonial era. Based on the verdict of a jury, if a person was found guilty, the judge would convict and impose a penalty to the defendant in accordance to the charge he or she was found guilty of. One notable case in which a person was sentenced to death in a jury trial was the trial of Sunny Ang Soo Suan, who allegedly murdered his girlfriend Jenny Cheok Cheng Kid during a scuba diving trip in 1963. Despite the circumstantial evidence and the absence of the victim's body, the seven-men jury unanimously found Ang guilty of murder and sentenced him to death. Ang was eventually hanged on 6 February 1967 after he lost all his appeals to both the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council, and the failure of his clemency plea to PresidentYusof Ishak.
The first person to be tried before two judges in the High Court and sentenced to death for a capital case was armed robber Teo Cheng Leong, who was found guilty and sentenced in February 1970 for unlawfully discharging a firearm twice when he fired two missed shots at a police officer. Another notable case was the kidnapping and murder of Ong Beang Leck, the son of a rich tycoon. Five men were involved in the abduction and they had murdered Ong after luring him into a rented car on 24 May 1968. Three of the kidnappers were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in June 1970. In the first case of a woman being sentenced to death in Singapore, dance hostess Mimi Wong Weng Siu was convicted of murdering Ayako Watanabe out of jealousy in 1970 and received the death sentence in the same trial as her ex-husband Sim Woh Kum, who assisted her in killing the Japanese victim, who was the wife of Wong's Japanese boyfriend. The couple were executed on 27 July 1973.
Since the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code in 1992, all capital cases have been heard by a single judge in the High Court instead of two judges. After conviction and sentencing, the offender has the option of making an appeal to the Court of Appeal. If the appeal fails, the final recourse rests with the President of Singapore, who has the power to grant clemency on the advice of the Cabinet. In exceptional cases since 2012, the Court of Appeal would be asked to review its previous decisions in concluded criminal appeals where it was necessary to correct a miscarriage of justice, most of which involved drug cases attracting the death penalty. The exact number of successful appeals is unknown. In November 1995, one Poh Kay Keong had his conviction overturned after the court found that his statement to a Central Narcotics Bureau officer had been made under duress. Another was the case of Nadasan Chandra Secharan, who was initially convicted of murder and sentenced to death by the High Court in June 1996, but later acquitted of murder by the Court of Appeal in January 1997 after they found the evidence against him was insufficient to show that he had murdered his lover Ramapiram Kannickaisparry. Another case was that of Ismil bin Kadar, who was initially sentenced to death for a 2005 robbery-murder case in Boon Lay, but eventually acquitted of the crime as the Court of Appeal found that based on the evidence, Ismil was not involved in the case and that it was solely his younger brother Muhammad bin Kadar who was responsible for the robbery and murder; Muhammad was subsequently executed in April 2015.
Successful clemency applications are thought to be even rarer. Since 1965, the presidential clemency has been granted seven times to death row inmates, whose sentences were commuted to life imprisonment (not counting the clemency pleas of the underaged offenders serving TPP). The last presidential clemency was granted by President Halimah Yacob in December 2018 to the teenager involved in the killing of Anthony Ler’s wife. The last clemency given prior to that was in April 1998, when President Ong Teng Cheong pardoned a 19-year-old death row inmate and convicted murderer Mathavakannan Kalimuthu, commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment.
Previously, other than the Court of Appeal, offenders were allowed to file criminal or civil appeals to the Privy Council in London, where the judges could hear their appeals once they exhausted all avenues of appeal in Singapore. This avenue of appeal was fully abolished for all criminal and civil matters in April 1994. One case in which an appeal to the Privy Council was successful was the case of murderer Mohamed Yasin bin Hussin. 19-year-old Yasin robbed, raped and murdered a 58-year-old woman at Pulau Ubin in April 1972. He was sentenced to death for murder in 1974 and lost his appeal before the Privy Council accepted his appeal and sentenced him to two years' imprisonment for causing death while committing a rash/negligent act.
Changes to the law
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In July 2012, the government made a review of the mandatory death penalty applied to certain drug trafficking or murder offences. In the midst of this review, a moratorium was imposed on all the 35 pending executions in Singapore at that time (7 for murder and 28 for drug trafficking). During that period of the review of the mandatory death penalty, one convicted murderer, Pathip Selvan s/o Sugumaran, who made headlines for the violent murder of his girlfriend in 2008, won his appeal in October 2012 and was re-sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for culpable homicide. Wang Zhijian, a Chinese national who committed the 2008 Yishun triple murders, was sentenced to death for a conviction of murder under Section 300(a) of the Penal Code in November 2012, and another unnamed death row convict died of natural causes while in prison.
In November 2012, capital punishment laws in Singapore were revised such that the mandatory death penalty for those convicted of drug trafficking or murder was lifted under certain specific conditions. Judges were empowered with the discretion to sentence such offenders to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
In January 2013, the law was again amended to make the death penalty no longer mandatory for certain capital offences. Judges in Singapore were given a discretion to impose a sentence of life imprisonment with mandatory caning for offenders who commit murder but had no intention to kill, which come under Sections 300(b), 300(c) and 300(d) of the Penal Code. The death penalty remains mandatory only for murders committed with the intent to kill, which come under section 300(a) of the Penal Code. Provided that drug traffickers only act as couriers, suffer from impaired mental responsibility (e.g. depression), or substantively assist the authorities in tackling drug trafficking activities, among other conditions, judges also had discretion not to issue the death sentence. Drug traffickers who were not condemned to death but to life-long incarceration with caning would receive at least 15 strokes of the cane, unless suffering from mental incapacity. Despite this discretion, a sentence of life imprisonment is the mandatory minimum penalty for capital murder or drug trafficking offences.
The first person to be sentenced to life imprisonment, instead of receiving the death penalty, under the amended death penalty laws was drug trafficker Abdul Haleem bin Abdul Karim on 10 April 2013, having been a courier in traffic drugs and had assisted the authorities in disrupting the drug trafficking activities. In addition to his life sentence, Abdul Haleem, who pleaded guilty to two charges of drug trafficking, was also given the maximum sentence of 24 strokes of the cane. Abdul Haleem's accomplice, Muhammad Ridzuan bin Md Ali, on the other hand, was sentenced to death for drug trafficking and later hanged on 19 May 2017.
After the changes to the law, the first executions to take place were those of drug traffickers Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng on 18 July 2014, after their sentences were finalized and their refusal to further appeal against their sentences.
Re-sentencing of death row inmates
The amendments of the law also offered a chance for all current death row inmates to have their cases to be reviewed for re-sentencing. Some death row inmates declined to be re-sentenced, including Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng. The below cases are known cases where death row inmates applied for re-sentencing.
17 April 2015: Muhammad bin Kadar was hanged after spending five years and nine months on death row for the robbery and murder of an elderly housewife in 2005. He was sentenced to death by the High Court in 2008 and had his appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2011. He applied for re-sentencing when changes to the law took effect in 2013, but the Court of Appeal denied his application in 2014.
16 July 2013: Fabian Adiu Edwin, a Malaysian who partnered with his childhood friend Ellary Puling to commit a series of six robberies in 2008, resulting in the death of one of the victims. While Ellary was sentenced to 19 years' imprisonment and 24 strokes of caning for robbery with hurt, Fabian was meanwhile convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2011. The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against his sentence in 2012. After amendments to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.
28 August 2013: Bijukumar Remadevi Nair Gopinathan, an Indian national who robbed and murdered a Filipino prostitute in 2010, was initially sentenced to death in 2012. He appealed to the Court of Appeal in 2012 but was still found guilty of murder. After changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced in 2013 to life imprisonment and 18 strokes of the cane.
12 November 2013: Kamrul Hasan Abdul Quddus, a Bangladeshi who murdered his Indonesian girlfriend in 2007. He was initially found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 2010, and had his appeal to the Court of Appeal dismissed in 2012. After changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the cane. He tried filing an appeal for a lighter sentence but was turned down by the Court of Appeal in 2014.
13 November 2013: Wang Wenfeng, a Chinese national who robbed and murdered a taxi driver in 2009, was initially convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2011. He had also lost his appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2012. When changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane. The prosecution filed an appeal but withdrew it in 2015 in light of the outcome of the prosecution's appeal against Kho Jabing's life sentence.
20 May 2016: Kho Jabing, a Malaysian hanged for the 2008 robbery and murder of a construction worker. After changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was initially re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane on 14 August 2013. However, after the prosecution appealed, he was sentenced to death again in a landmark ruling by a majority decision of 3–2 in the Court of Appeal and eventually hanged in the afternoon of the same day his final appeal was dismissed.
6 January 2014: Subashkaran Pragasam, a Singaporean found guilty of trafficking heroin in 2008 and sentenced to death in 2012. When changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced in 2014 to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane.
3 March 2014: Dinesh Pillai Reja Retnam, a Malaysian found guilty of trafficking heroin in 2009 and sentenced to death in 2011. When changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced in 2014 to life imprisonment on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to him suffering from depression when he committed the crime.
27 May 2014: Yip Mun Hei, a Singaporean convicted of trafficking heroin in 2008 and sentenced to death in 2009. When changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced in 2014 to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane. He had an accomplice Leong Soy Yip (also sentenced to death) whose fate remains unknown.
28 October 2014: Wilkinson A/L Primus, a Malaysian convicted of trafficking heroin in 2008 and sentenced to death in 2009. When changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 on the grounds that he was intellectually challenged and suffering from depression at the time of the crime.
20 April 2015: Cheong Chun Yin, a Malaysian convicted of trafficking heroin in 2008 and sentenced to death in 2010. He lost his appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2010. After changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing and was re-sentenced in 2015 to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane. His boss and accomplice, Pang Siew Fum, was also re-sentenced to life imprisonment on the same day, due to Pang suffering from depression at the time of the crime.
1 July 2015: Kester Ng Wei Ren, a 47-year-old Singaporean caught trafficking in 23.38g of heroin on 12 August 2008. He tried to argue that he only meant to import only 9.92g of heroin while the rest of his drug supply was only meant for his own consumption. Ng was given the mandatory death penalty in 2010 and he also lost his appeal in the same year. After changes to the law took effect in 2013, Ng applied for re-sentencing and but he lost his chance to be re-sentenced on 1 July 2015, since he was not certified as a courier. He was presumably executed sometime after the loss of his re-sentencing application.
22 April 2016: Phua Han Chuan Jeffery, a Singaporean and chronic ketamine abuser who was arrested on 20 January 2010 for trafficking more than 100g of heroin into Singapore at Woodlands Checkpoint. He was found guilty and sentenced to death in September 2011. Phua, who lost his three previous appeals against the sentence between July 2012 to September 2015, was granted a re-trial three years after the government implemented new changes to the death penalty laws (in 2013). He was diagnosed to be suffering from persistent depressive disorder, and the condition, coupled with his chronic ketamine addiction, was argued by Phua's lawyers as sufficient to impair his mental responsibility at the time of the crime. The High Court accepted the defence's arguments and thus re-sentenced Phua, then 30 years old, to life-long incarceration on 22 April 2016, with his sentence backdated to the date of his remand.
18 November 2016: Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian convicted of trafficking cannabis in 2007 and sentenced to death in 2008. He lost his appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2010. When changes to the law took effect in 2013, he filed for re-sentencing in 2015 but withdrew in 2016. Later, he filed another appeal and a plea for presidential clemency but failed. He was eventually hanged on 18 November 2016 along with Malaysian drug trafficker Devendran A/L Supramaniam.
27 April 2022: Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a Malaysian convicted of trafficking heroin in 2009 and sentenced to death in 2010. When changes to the law took effect in 2013, he applied for re-sentencing but had his application rejected. His appeals to the Court of Appeal were dismissed in 2019. In May 2019 he planned to appeal to the President of Singapore for clemency, but he lost his plea and his execution date was scheduled on 10 November 2021. However, Nagaenthran contracted COVID-19 while in jail and he also made an appeal, hence his execution is postponed and the appeal itself was also postponed twice. The appeal was heard on 1 March 2022, and it was finally dismissed on 29 March 2022. Nearly a month after the loss of his appeal, 34-year-old Nagaenthran was hanged at dawn on 27 April 2022.
On 14 January 2015, a landmark ruling was made by the Court of Appeal in the prosecution's appeal against the re-sentencing case of one former death row inmate, Kho Jabing, who was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane for the murder of Chinese national Cao Ruyin during a robbery under Section 300(c) of the Penal Code of Singapore. The landmark judgement in which the court, by a majority decision of 3–2, overturned Kho's life sentence and sentenced him to death a second time, had set the main guiding principles for all judges in Singapore to decide if the death penalty is appropriate for those murder cases committed with no intention to kill while exercising their discretion to impose either a life term or death for offenders responsible for such.
The main guiding principles set were as such:
Whether an offender displayed viciousness during the time of the commission of the offence of murder;
Whether an offender demonstrated a blatant disregard for human life at the time of the killing; and
Whether the offender's actions sparked an outrage of the feelings of the community.
In Kho's case, the majority three of the five judges were satisfied that Kho, who had used a tree branch to bash Cao's head repeatedly (resulting in a completely shattered skull that caused Cao to die in a coma six days after the attack), had demonstrated both a blatant disregard for human life and viciousness while committing the crime, and Kho's actions were such that they had outraged the feelings of the community. Due to this, Kho was once again given the death penalty and he was eventually hanged on 20 May 2016. at 3:30 pm after his appeal for a stay of execution was dismissed that same morning, a rare occurrence of an execution not carried out at dawn on Friday.
In addition to the Penal Code, there are four Acts of Parliament that prescribe death as punishment for offences. According to the Think Centre, a Singaporean civil rights group, 70% of hangings are for drug-related offences. All eight hangings in 2017 were for drug-related offences that year, and 11 of 13 hangings in 2018 were also for drug-related offences.
Under the Penal Code, the commission of the following offences may result in the death penalty:
Waging or attempting to wage war or abetting the waging of war against the Government (§121)
Robbery committed by five or more people that results in the death of a person (§396)
Since the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2007, Singapore no longer allows for the death penalty for rape and mutiny.
Arms Offences Act
The Arms Offences Act regulates criminal offences dealing with firearms and weapons. Any person who uses or attempts to use arms (Section 4) can face execution, as well as any person who uses or attempts to use arms to commit scheduled offences (Section 4A). These scheduled offences are being a member of an unlawful assembly; rioting; certain offences against the person; abduction or kidnapping; extortion; burglary; robbery; preventing or resisting arrest; vandalism; mischief. Any person who is an accomplice (Section 5) to a person convicted of arms use during a scheduled offence can likewise be hanged.
Trafficking in arms (Section 6) is a capital offence in Singapore. Under the Arms Offences Act, trafficking is defined as being in unlawful possession of more than two firearms.
One notable case involving a conviction under this act was the murder of Lim Hock Soon, where Ang Soon Tong triad leader Tan Chor Jin used a Beretta pistol to fatally shoot Lim, a nightclub owner, to death after robbing him and his family of their valuables. Tan was initially charged under the Penal Code for murder but the charge was later amended into one of illegal discharge of firearms under the Arms Offences Act. Tan was eventually convicted and executed by hanging under this Act on 9 January 2009.
Death sentences are also mandatory for any person caught manufacturing:
Morphine, or any salt of morphine, ester of morphine or salt of ester of morphine (§6, (2));
Diamorphine (heroin) or any salt of diamorphine (§6, (3));
Cocaine or any salt of cocaine (§6, (4));
Methamphetamine (§6, (5)).
Under the Act:
any person who is proved to have had in his possession or custody or under his control —
anything containing a controlled drug;
the keys of anything containing a controlled drug;
the keys of any place or premises or any part thereof in which a controlled drug is found; or
a document of title relating to a controlled drug or any other document intended for the delivery of a controlled drug,
shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to have had that drug in his possession.
Furthermore, any person who has a controlled drug in his possession shall be presumed to have known the nature of that drug.
The majority of executions in Singapore are for drug offences. Since 2010, 23 prisoners have been executed for drug offences, while only five have been executed for other offences, such as murder. Death penalty supporters, such as blogger Benjamin Chang, claim that Singapore has one of the lowest prevalence of drug abuse worldwide. Chang claims, for instance, that over two decades, the number of drug abusers arrested each year has declined by two-thirds, from over 6,000 in the early 1990s to about 2,000 in 2011. The validity of these figures is disputed by other Singaporeans, such as drugs counsellor Tony Tan. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime notes that Singapore remains a transit destination for drug traffickers in Asia, drug seizures continue to increase, and heroin drug use within Singapore is continuing to rise.
Internal Security Act
The preamble of the Internal Security Act states that it is an Act to "provide for the internal security of Singapore, preventive detention, the prevention of subversion, the suppression of organised violence against persons and property in specified areas of Singapore, and for matters incidental thereto". The President has the power to designate certain security areas. Any person caught in the possession or with someone in possession of firearms, ammunition or explosives in a security area can be punished by death.
The terms of the Kidnapping Act designate abduction, wrongful restraint or wrongful confinement for ransom as capital offences.
Death row conditions
Amnesty International reports that death row inmates are housed in cells of roughly three square metres (32 square feet). Walls make up three sides, while the fourth is made up of vertical bars. They are equipped with a toilet, a sleeping mat, and a bucket for washing. Exercise is permitted twice a day for half an hour at a time. Four days before the execution, the condemned is allowed to watch television or listen to the radio. Special meals of their choice are also cooked, if within the prison budget. Visiting rights are increased from one 20-minute visit per week to a maximum of four hours each day, though no physical contact is allowed with any visitors. In addition, two days before an execution, an inmate is allowed to have a photo shoot and be given their own clothes to pose during a photoshoot; the photo will be given to their families as remembrance.
Public debate in the Singaporean news media on the death penalty is almost non-existent, although the topic is occasionally discussed in the midst of highly publicised criminal cases. Efforts to garner public opinion on the issue are rare, although it has been suggested that the population is influenced by a legalist philosophy which holds that harsh punishment deters crime and helps maintain social peace and harmony. In October 2007, Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee said in Parliament that "Certain of us may hold the view that the death penalty should be abolished. But in a survey done two years ago, reported in the Straits Times, 95% of Singaporeans feel that the death penalty should stay. This is something which has helped us to be safe and secure all these years and it is only reserved for a very few select offences."
There were a few instances where in certain high-profile cases, the public would argue for the death penalty to be imposed on those who allegedly committed murder. In the case of Annie Ee Yu Lian who was abused and murdered, some Singaporeans were angered at the cruelty displayed by the couple and felt that the sentences were too light, which prompted them to petition for harsher punishments; some even demanded for the death penalty to be imposed on the couple. In another case regarding the death of young Mohamad Danial Mohamad Nasser, some Singaporeans felt that the sentences were too light and petitioned to the courts to sentence the couple to death.
Younger generations of Singaporeans tend to have a more liberal approach towards drug use. The government, in response, has introduced education programmes on the dangers of drugs. There were cases of ex-drug convicts who also advocated against the use of drugs; some even agree that the death penalty was effective. A former trafficker once stated that in the past, he would always make sure the measurement of his delivered drugs were below the minimum amount to avoid capital punishment. A female prisoner and drug convict also spoke up about the death penalty while being interviewed in prison, where she was serving 26 years' jail since 2014. She agreed to the relevance and effect of the death penalty in stopping people from selling and taking drugs, as she knew how drug trafficking caused damage to families and inflict sufferings especially to the children of drug addicts.
In the aftermath of several executions, there were discussions among the Singaporean public about the need for compassion for some death row inmates, owing to arguments that many death row inmates had come from low-income families or had drug addictions before ending up on death row. However, the public sentiments remained leaning towards capital punishment for drugs, owing to arguments concerning rampant rates of drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia, the effectiveness of the death penalty in maintaining Singapore's low crime rate, and the impact drugs have had on the addicts and their families.
When 31-year-old Singaporean Shen Hanjie was sentenced to death for trafficking 34.94g of pure heroin in October 2022, a huge majority of the netizens showed support for the death sentence in Shen's case, with some expressing sympathy for his family, especially his parents. Most of the supporters also stated that the death sentence should be deployed for drug crimes due to its strong deterrent effect.
Protests and opposition
Before the hanging of Shanmugam Murugesu, a three-hour vigil was held on 6 May 2005. The organisers of the event at the Furama Hotel said it was the first such public gathering organised solely by members of the public against the death penalty in Singapore. Murugesu had been arrested after being caught in possession of six packets containing just over 1kg of cannabis after returning from Malaysia. He admitted knowledge of one of the packets, which contained 300 grams, but not the other five. The event was reportedly unreported by mainstream media outlets, and was later shut down by the police.
After the hanging of Australian citizen Van Tuong Nguyen on 2 December 2005, Susan Chia, province leader of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Singapore, declared that "the death penalty is cruel, inhumane and it violates the right to life." Chia and several other nuns comforted Nguyen's mother two weeks before his execution for heroin trafficking.
In 2010, British author Alan Shadrake published his book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, which was critical of the Singapore judicial system. Shadrake was arrested whilst promoting the book in Singapore and later sentenced to six weeks in prison for contempt of court. He is also charged with criminal defamation. The case attracted worldwide attention, putting the Singapore legal system in the spotlight. Shadrake apologised to the court if he had offended the sensitivities of the judiciary and did not mean to undermine the judges or the judiciary, but stood by his book, apart from a mistake contained within. The judge, Quentin Loh, dismissed his apology as "nothing more than a tactical ploy in court to obtain a reduced sentence". Shadrake's conviction for scandalising the court was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
On 5 October 2018, Singapore carried out three executions of drug traffickers - Zainudin bin Mohamed, Abdul Wahid Bin Ismail, and Mohsen Bin Na’im, it led to the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and 28 civil society organizations in Asia showing condemnation over the triple hangings, and these groups the death sentence was a grave violation of the right to life, which was "the most fundamental and essential human right for other rights to be realized". They also argued that the executions of Zainudin, Abdul Wahid and Mohsen did not serve any purpose for the island-state and its citizens in terms of fulfilling the ends of justice.
In March 2022, when Singapore dismissed the final appeal of Malaysian death row prisoner Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam and later authorized the execution of Singaporean drug convict Abdul Kahar Othman, which was its first execution during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 400 Singaporeans, including rights activists Jolovan Wham, Kirsten Han and Kokila Annamalai, who took part in a protest against the government's use of the death penalty at Hong Lim Park. With regards to Abdul Kahar's execution, the European Union (EU) condemned it and stated that capital punishment is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which not only failed to deter crime but also defied both humanity's dignity and integrity. Two days prior to Nagaenthran's execution (which took place on 27 April 2022), a candlelight vigil was held on his behalf.
Law Society review
In December 2005, the Law Society revealed that it has set up a committee, named Review Committee on Capital Punishment, to examine capital punishment in the country. The President of the Society, Senior CounselPhilip Jeyaretnam, said that the main focus of the review was on issues regarding administering the death penalty such as whether it should be mandatory. A report of the review would be submitted to the Ministry of Law. On 6 November 2006, they were invited to give its views on proposed amendments to the Penal Code to the Ministry of Home Affairs. In their report, issued on 30 March 2007, they argued against the mandatory death penalty:
The death penalty should be discretionary for the offences where the death sentence is mandatory – murder, drug trafficking, firearms offences and sedition – a position similar to that for the offence of kidnapping. There are strong arguments for changing the mandatory nature of capital punishment in Singapore. Judges should be given the discretion to impose the death penalty only where deemed appropriate.
Singapore government's response
The Singapore government states that the death penalty is only used in the most serious of crimes, sending, they say, a strong message to potential offenders. They point out that in 1994 and 1999 the United Nations General Assembly failed to adopt United Nations resolutions calling for a moratorium on the death penalty worldwide, as a majority of countries opposed such a move.
"... the death penalty is primarily a criminal justice issue, and therefore is a question for the sovereign jurisdiction of each country [...] the right to life is not the only right, and [...] it is the duty of societies and governments to decide how to balance competing rights against each other."
In January 2004, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a response to Amnesty International's report, "Singapore: The death penalty - A hidden toll of executions". It defended Singapore's policy to retain the death penalty, predicating its arguments on, among others, the following grounds:
There is no international consensus on whether the death penalty should be abolished.
Each country has the sovereign right to decide on its own judicial system, taking into account its own circumstances.
The death penalty has been effective in keeping Singapore one of the safest places in the world to work and live in.
The application of the death penalty is only reserved for "very serious crimes".
The Ministry of Home Affairs also refuted Amnesty International's claims of the majority of the executed being foreigners, and that it was "mostly the poor, least educated, and vulnerable people who are executed". The Ministry stated: "Singaporeans, and not foreigners, were the majority of those executed... Of those executed from 1993 to 2003, 95% were above 21 years of age, and 80% had received formal education. About 80% of those who had been sentenced to capital punishment had employment before their convictions."
Following the hanging of Van Tuong Nguyen in 2005, Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong reiterated the government's position, stating that "The evil inflicted on thousands of people with drug trafficking demands that we must tackle the source by punishing the traffickers rather than trying to pick up the pieces afterwards... It's a law which is approved of by Singapore's inhabitants and which allows us to reduce the drug problem."
In October 2020, Law Minister K. Shanmugam emphasised that the death penalty is a powerful deterrent to capital crimes in Singapore. He cited the statistics of the rate of firearms-related offences and kidnapping cases had dropped dramatically after the introduction of the death penalty as evidence of its deterrence. Shanmugam also cited that after the government mandates the death penalty since 1991, the average net amount of opium trafficked dropped by 66% and many drug traffickers are illegally transporting less and less amounts of drugs to avoid the punishment. The government conducted surveys on Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans, and the majority of both groups responded that the death penalty is more effective than life imprisonment in discouraging people from committing capital offences.
During a June 2022 BBC interview, Shanmugam, who was asked by the host and journalist Stephen Sackur regarding the death penalty for drugs, stated that the death penalty in Singapore was the right punishment adopted by the government to protect Singaporeans and save lives. He also cited a 2021 report by the World Health Organisation that showed there were 500,000 deaths linked to drug abuse in just one year. Shanmugam added that in the 1990s, Singapore was arresting about 6,000 people a year for drugs, but this has now dropped to about 3,000 people a year. He stated that it goes to show how the draconian laws deployed by Singapore on narcotics offences has safeguarded the lives of many locals and maintains a safe society in Singapore. The death penalty response by Shanmugam during the BBC interview was well-received and supported by many members of the public on social media, who also voiced their support for capital punishment for drugs in Singapore.
In light of the execution of Abdul Rahim Shapiee (and his accomplice), Pritam Singh, opposition leader of Parliament and chairman of Workers' Party, wrote to Singapore newspaper Today to express his support for the death penalty for drug crimes in Singapore and the execution of drug traffickers. Singh nonetheless argued that there should be changes made to rectify the shortcomings in determining the extent of one's cooperation with the authorities during investigations before sentencing, citing cases of traffickers receiving death sentences before courts decided they were couriers and could sentence them for life, as well as cases like Abdul Rahim's, who was sentenced to death despite being a courier and having provided substantive assistance. Singh also expressed concern about the need to curb the frequent abuse of court processes by drug traffickers and their lawyers.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) revealed that from 2013 to early 2022, certificates of substantive assistance were issued to 82 out of 104 drug traffickers regardless of nationality, while there were 14 out of the remaining 22 sentenced to death and the other eight traffickers sentenced to life imprisonment due to mental illnesses. Another data revealed that 78% of the traffickers were not subjected to capital punishment despite having brought drugs exceeding the capital threshold, as a reslt of plea bargains to reduce their capital charges or certifications for substantive assistance.
International impact of Singapore's death penalty laws
Impact on negotiations of extraditing suspects to Singapore
In 2002, Singapore tried to negotiate with Australia for the extradition of a British murder suspect and fugitive Michael McCrea, who was wanted for the double murder of a couple whose corpses were discovered abandoned in a car at Orchard Towers. However, McCrea, who was arrested in Australia, was not extradited as Australia, which abolished the death penalty for all offences by then, was not legally allowed to extradite suspects back to countries where they would face the death sentence. It was only after Singapore gave the Australian government the assurance that McCrea would not be hanged even if he was convicted of murder, which allowed McCrea to be sent back to Singapore for trial. McCrea was eventually convicted of culpable homicide and destroying evidence of a murder case, and sentenced to a total of 24 years in jail. This left an impact and precedent on Singapore's avenues to successfully negotiating for extradition of suspects from countries where the death penalty or caning was not practiced, including the extradition of suspected bank robber David James Roach, whom the Singapore government promised would not face caning for robbery. Roach was eventually sent back to Singapore, where he later served five years in prison, and he was pardoned from caning by PresidentHalimah Yacob.
Impact on official debate and discussion in the United States
In 2012, a number of American elected officials and office-seekers suggested that Singapore's success in combating drug abuse should be examined as a model for the United States. Michael Bloomberg, a former Mayor of New York City, said that the United States could learn a thing or two from nations like Singapore when it came to drug trafficking, noting that "executing a handful of people saves thousands and thousands of lives." The last execution in New York took place in 1963. Several courts have ruled that the death penalty violates the New York Constitution (see People v. LaValle). In 2007, the state of New York abolished the death penalty. 22 states, plus Washington D.C., have abolished the death penalty, with the most recent being Virginia in 2021. However, certain states, such as Texas and Georgia, still regularly execute prisoners for aggravated murder.
Former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich repeated his longstanding advocacy for Singaporean methods in the United States' War on Drugs during campaign interviews and speeches.
The following table of executions was compiled by Amnesty International from several sources, including statistics supplied by the Ministry of Home Affairs in January 2001 and government figures reported to Agence France-Presse in September 2003. Numbers in curly brackets are the number of foreign citizens executed, according to information disclosed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Detailed statistics were not released by the Singapore government between 2000 and 2006. Singapore's Prime MinisterGoh Chok Tong told the BBC in September 2003 that he believed there were "in the region of about 70 to 80" hangings in 2003. Two days later he retracted his statement, saying the number was in fact ten.
While no information is issued on the race and ethnicity of death row inmates, it was noted in 2021, during an appeal from a number of Malay death row inmates who alleged racism on the part of the government, that there were a large number of Malays among those on death row, with only handfuls of other minority races. Between 2010 and 2021, Malays made up 66 of the 120 prosecuted for capital drug offences, with 76% of cases concluding with the death sentence. 50 out of 77 people sentenced to death between 2010 and 2021 were Malays, with a remaining 15 Indians, 10 Chinese and two from other races. Since 2010, of all the 77 sentenced to death, there were 14 Malaysians being condemned to death row, with eleven of them ethnic Indians, two Malays and one Chinese.
Former chief executioner, Darshan Singh, stated that he had executed more than 850 people during his service, which began in 1959. When conducting the executions, he would use the phrase: "I am going to send you to a better place than this. God bless you." At one point, Singh executed 18 people on one day; these 18 people were among the 58 rioters who killed four prison officers while they were serving their jail terms in a Pulau Senang island prison in 1963. Singh also said that he has hanged seven people within 90 minutes; these seven men were the culprits of the 1971 Gold Bars triple murders, in which a businessman and illegal gold trader was killed together with his driver and colleague over a total of 120 gold bars.
Executions peaked between 1994 and 1998; Singapore had the second highest per-capita execution rate in the world during this period, estimated by the United Nations to be 13.83 executions annually per one million people, just behind Turkmenistan with 14.92. Since then, executions have become far less common, with some years having no executions at all. For example, no one was executed in 2012 and 2013, and two persons were executed in 2014. Nevertheless, in the late 2010s, the number of executions has started to increase again: in 2018, 13 people were executed, the most since at least 2003. and four people (including two unreported executions) were hanged in 2019. No one has been executed from the start of 2020 to August 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. The first person to be sentenced to death during the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore was Punithan Genasan, a 37-year-old Malaysian who was also the first to be sentenced to death on 15 May 2020 via a remote court hearing on Zoom. Punithan, who was convicted of drug trafficking, was later acquitted on 31 October 2022 upon appeal. The first fully virtual court hearing of a capital case was made via Zoom on 23 April 2020, when the Court of Appealacquitted 27-year-old Singaporean drug suspect Mohammad Azli Mohammad Salleh and dismissed both his drug charge and his death sentence.
There were originally two executions scheduled for drug traffickers Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin and Mohd Fadzir bin Mustaffa on 18 September 2020 and 24 September 2020 respectively, but they were subsequently postponed due to stays of execution granted pending last-minute appeals against the death sentences. As a result, there was no one executed in 2020. Similarly between January and October 2021, no new execution dates were set for the inmates on Singapore's death row, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resurgence of community cases.
The execution of Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was supposed to be carried out on 10 November 2021, but it was postponed due to Nagaenthran contracting COVID-19. The suspension of Nagaenthran's execution in 2021 also led to no executions being carried out in 2021 itself. There were originally two executions of Roslan Bakar and Pausi Jefridin to be carried out on 16 February 2022 and a third execution of Rosman Abdullah on 23 February 2022 before they were postponed due to the men's appeals. Due to the increasing notices of executions being revealed publicly, there were lingering concerns from civil groups and international figures that Singapore might resume executions to accommodate the growing death row inmate population at Changi Prison.
The first death row prisoner to be hanged in Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic was 68-year-old Singaporean drug offender Abdul Kahar Othman on 30 March 2022, who had not appealed against his sentence and later executed as scheduled, therefore resuming executions in Singapore. By the time Abdul Kahar was executed, there were 62 prisoners on death row, awaiting execution (reduced to 61 with Nagaenthran's execution).Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was the second to be hanged on 27 April 2022 after Abdul Kahar.Datchinamurthy Kataiah was originally the third in line to be executed on 29 April 2022 after Nagaenthran before his execution was postponed due to an appeal. On 7 July 2022, Kalwant Singh Jogindar Singh and Norasharee Gous became the third and fourth convicts to be hanged in Singapore in 2022. In the same month, Nazeri Lajim was executed 15 days after Kalwant and Norasharee. Three more hangings - one on 26 July and two (Malaysian Rahmat Karimon and his accomplice Zainal Hamad) on 2 August - were conducted after Nazeri's execution. On 5 August 2022, 45-year-old Singaporean Abdul Rahim Shapiee and his 49-year-old accomplice Ong Seow Ping were the ninth and tenth to be executed. A 55-year-old Singaporean, whose name is unknown, was the eleventh to be executed for a drug charge on 7 October 2022.
The people on death row include foreign nationals, many of whom were convicted of drug-related offences. These inmates come from a diverse range of countries, including the United States, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. Figures released by the Singapore government show that between 1993 and 2003, 36% of those executed were foreigners, including some residents in Singapore (half of Singapore residents are foreigners).
Cases of people sentenced to death
1965: Tan Kheng Ann (alias Robert Black) and 17 others who led the Pulau Senang prison riot. They were found guilty of the murders of a prison officer and his three assistants, and hanged on 29 October 1965.
1967: Sunny Ang, a Grand Prix driver and part-time student who killed his girlfriend Jenny Cheok for her insurance during a scuba diving trip near Sisters' Islands in 1963. He was the first person in Singapore to be convicted of murder solely based on circumstantial evidence and without a body. He received a mandatory death sentence and was executed on 6 February 1967.
1973: Mimi Wong Weng Siu and her husband Sim Woh Kum, the first couple to be sentenced to death in Singapore. Both Wong and Sim were convicted of the 1970 murder of Ayako Watanabe, the wife of Wong's Japanese lover, and hanged on 27 July 1973. Wong was also the first woman to be executed for murder in Singapore since its independence.
1980: Quek Kee Siong, a labourer who was found guilty of the rape and murder of ten-year-old Cheng Geok Ha and sentenced to death in March 1979. He lost his appeal in November 1980, and later hanged.
1984: Ong Hwee Kuan, Ong Chin Hock and Yeo Ching Boon were hanged on 24 February 1984 for the robbery, kidnapping and murder of a policeman, Lee Kim Lai, on 25 April 1978. The trio were also responsible for the murder of a taxi driver Chew Theng Hin on the same night Lee was killed.
1988: Adrian Lim, Tan Mui Choo, and Hoe Kah Hong, the three perpetrators of the 1981 Toa Payoh ritual murders, were hanged on 25 November 1988.
1988: Sek Kim Wah, a Singaporean military conscript and serial killer who committed the 1983 Andrew Road triple murders and another double murder near Seletar Road, was hanged on 9 December 1988.
1992: Vasavan Sathiadew and his two Thai accomplices - Phan Khenapin and Wan Pathong - were hanged on 23 October 1992 for the 1984 murder of Frankie Tan.
1995: Flor Contemplacion, a Filipino domestic worker hanged on 17 March 1995 for murdering another Filipino domestic worker and a four-year-old boy.
1995: Chin Seow Noi, Chin's younger brother Chin Yaw Kim and Yaw Kim's friend Ng Kim Heng, the three Malaysians who were hanged on 31 March 1995 for the murder of Lim Lee Tin in January 1989.
1995: Oh Laye Koh, a Singaporean and former school bus driver who was hanged on 19 May 1995 for the 1989 murder of Liang Shan Shan, a 17-year-old Malaysian schoolgirl. He was also the suspected killer of 18-year-old lounge waitress Norhayah binti Mohamed Ali back in 1982.
1998: Jimmy Chua Hwa Soon, a former army sergeant who killed his sister-in-law and slashed his nephew. He was sentenced to death for murder in April 1997 and lost his appeal in February 1998.
1998: Lim Chin Chong, a Malaysian male prostitute who, at age 18, murdered his 65-year-old Singaporean employer and brothel owner Philip Low Cheng Quee in June 1997. Lim was found guilty of murder and executed on 23 October 1998.
1999: Gerardine Andrew, a prostitute who was hanged on 26 February 1999 together with two men - Nazar Mohamed Kassim and Mansoor Abdullah - for stabbing her landlady, 53-year-old Sivapackiam Veerappan Rengasamy in March 1997. Prior to her execution, Gerardine's sentence was initially eight years' imprisonment for manslaughter before the Court of Appeal found her guilty of murder in September 1998 and commuted her jail term to death.
1999: Both Shaiful Edham bin Adam and Norishyam s/o Mohamed Ali were hanged on 2 July 1999 for the 1998 murder of a Bulgarian student named Iordanka Apostolova.
1999: Jonaris Badlishah, a Malaysian and nephew of the Sultan of Kedah who was sentenced to death for the 1998 murder of Sally Poh Bee Eng and theft of her Rolex watch. He lost his appeal in February 1999, and afterwards, he was hanged.
2000: Lau Lee Peng, a fishmonger who was hanged on 1 September 2000 for the robbery and murder of his 50-year-old friend and fruit stall helper Lily Tan Eng Yan.
2001: Julaiha Begum, her lover Loganatha Venkatesan and Venkatesan's friend Chandran Rajagopal who were hanged on 16 February 2001 for the murder of Julaiha's husband T. Maniam.
2002: Three men - Rosli bin Ahmat, Wan Kamil bin Mohamed Shafian, and Ibrahim bin Mohamed - were executed on 25 October 2002 for the August 2000 murders of Koh Ngiap Yong and Jahabar Sathick at Chestnut Avenue and Jalan Kukoh respectively.
2009: Tan Chor Jin, alias Tony Kia, nicknamed the "One-eyed Dragon" in Singapore media, was executed on 9 January 2009 for illegally discharging a firearm and killing 41-year-old nightclub owner Lim Hock Soon by shooting.
2015: Iskandar bin Rahmat, a former police officer sentenced to death in December 2015 for the 2013 Kovan double murders. As of May 2021[update], Iskandar is still awaiting execution.
2016: Kho Jabing, a Malaysian hanged on 20 May 2016 for the 2008 robbery and murder of a construction worker.
2018: Chia Kee Chen, a Singaporean businessman who murdered his wife's 37-year-old lover Dexmon Chua Yizhi. His life sentence was commuted to a death sentence by the Court of Appeal of Singapore after the prosecution appealed on 27 June 2018.
List of death row inmates granted clemency by the President
1978: Mohamad Kunjo s/o Ramalan, a Singaporean convicted of murdering a lorry driver in 1975 and sentenced to death in 1976. After losing his appeals against his sentence over the next two years, he filed for clemency, which was granted by President Benjamin Sheares in 1978. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
1980: Bobby Chung Hua Watt, a Singaporean convicted of murdering his brother-in-law's brother in 1975. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. After losing his appeal against his death sentence, he was initially scheduled to be executed on 18 January 1980. However, on 15 January 1980, President Benjamin Sheares granted him clemency and his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released from prison in 1993 for good behaviour after serving at least two-thirds of his life sentence.
1983: Siti Aminah binte Jaffar, a Singaporean convicted of drug trafficking in 1977 and sentenced to death in 1978 along with her lover, Anwar Ali Khan. The two of them appealed to President Devan Nair for clemency in 1983. Anwar's plea was rejected and he was executed, but Siti's was accepted and she had her death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
1993: Sim Ah Cheoh, a Singaporean convicted of drug trafficking in 1985 and sentenced to death in 1988 along with her two accomplices. President Wee Kim Wee accepted her plea for clemency in 1992 and her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment; her two accomplices, however, were executed in 1992. While serving her life sentence, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1993 and had at most a year to live. She appealed to President Ong Teng Cheong for clemency so that she could be released in order to spend the final moments of her life with her family. The President accepted the petition, and she was released on 16 February 1995 and eventually died on 30 March that year.
1992: Koh Swee Beng, a Singaporean who killed a man who assaulted his foster father in 1988. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1990. He lost his appeal against his death sentence in 1991 but was eventually granted clemency by President Wee Kim Wee on 13 May 1992 (two days before he was scheduled to be executed) and had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. He was released from prison in September 2005 for good behaviour after serving at least two-thirds of his life sentence.
1998: Mathavakannan Kalimuthu, a Singaporean convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1996 along with his two friends. After losing their appeals in 1997, the three of them petitioned to President Ong Teng Cheong for clemency in 1998. The President accepted only Mathavakannan's plea so his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment; the other two had their pleas rejected and were subsequently executed. Mathavakannan was eventually released in 2012 after spending about 16 years in prison.
In popular culture
In 2016, Singaporean director Boo Junfeng directed and released a film titled Apprentice, starring Firdaus Rahman and Wan Hanafi Su. The film, which narrates the fictional story of newly appointed prison officer and executioner Aiman Yusof, touched on the subject of the death penalty in Singapore and an executioner's perspective of the practice, as well as the experiences and ostracisation of the families when their loved ones were tried and executed. The director also revealed that he had gathered information through interviews of the retired executioners, imams and priests who counselled the death row inmates, and also the families of the executed prisoners while producing the film. The film, which was released in several international film festivals, was met with positive public responses and it attracted both nominations and awards for the director and production team.
In Singapore, there were local crime shows like Crimewatch and True Files which re-enact the real-life crimes in Singapore. Among these cases, there were murder and drug trafficking cases which attract the death penalty in the city-state. Often, the re-enactments of these capital cases would also show the final verdicts of the convicts, where it revealed the dates of their sentencing and/or executions. Notably, executed criminals like English serial killer John Martin Scripps, notorious wife-killer Anthony Ler and child rapist and killer Adrian Lim and many more had their cases featured in these re-enactment shows since the 1980s till the present.
^ abcde"The Singapore Government's Response To Amnesty International's Report "Singapore - The Death Penalty: A Hidden Toll of Executions"". Ministry of Home Affairs. 30 January 2004. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2013. Contrary to AI's claims, Singaporeans, not foreigners, were the majority of those executed in Singapore. From 1993 to 2003, 64% of those executed were Singaporeans. In the last five years, 73% executed were Singaporeans. Given that one in four residents in Singapore is a foreigner, it is not only false but mischievous to allege that a significant proportion of prisoners executed were foreigners; Although family members are not with the inmate at the moment of execution, they are informed four days before the executions (for foreigners, the families and embassy will be informed earlier, usually seven to fourteen days) and allowed daily visits lasting up to four hours for each visit during these four days. The execution is carried out in the presence of a Prison medical doctor. Upon request, a priest or a religious minister is allowed to be present, to pray for the person to be executed; Our prison conditions are spartan but adequate. Visiting Justices, who are prominent members of the community, conduct regular unannounced visits to the prison institutions to make sure that prisoners, including those on death row, are not ill-treated. It is not true that prisoners are not allowed to exercise. All prisoners, including condemned prisoners, are entitled to their daily exercises. In fact, there are two exercise yards dedicated for this use. They are normally allowed to exercise twice a day, half an hour each time, one or two at a time.
^ abcdefg"Singapore: The death penalty - A hidden toll of executions"(PDF). Amnesty International. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2007. Amnesty International recognizes the need to combat drug trafficking, and the harm that illicit drugs can cause. However there is no convincing evidence that the death penalty deters would-be traffickers more effectively than other punishments; Amnesty International is gravely concerned that such presumptions erode the right to a fair trial, increasing the risk that an innocent person may be executed, particularly as the law provides for a mandatory death sentence; Amnesty International opposes the death penalty worldwide in all cases without exception; Relatives have informed Amnesty International that prisoners under sentence of death are kept in strict isolation in individual cells measuring approximately three square meters. The cells are thought to have walls on three sides, with bars on the remaining side. Cells are sparse, furnished only with a toilet and a mat for sleeping, but no bedding. Inmates are allowed the use of a bucket for washing; They may receive one 20-minute visit per week in a special area where they are separated from visitors by a thick pane of glass and have to communicate via a telephone. About four days before the execution date, as a special concession, prisoners are permitted to watch television or listen to the radio and are given meals of their choice, within the prison's budget. They are also allowed extra visits from relatives but no physical contact is permitted at any time before the execution; In July 2001 then parliamentarian and prominent human rights campaigner, J.B. Jeyaretnam, called for a parliamentary debate about the case of a drug user who was facing execution, urging the Cabinet to consider various aspects of the case during examination of his clemency appeal. J.B. Jeyaretnam was given just a few minutes to speak before his arguments were rebutted by the Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs.
^Tan Kong Soon (19 July 2001). "Death Penalty Case Gets an Airing in Parliament". Think Centre. The Parliamentary session of 11 July 2001 saw a veteran politician broach the issue of clemency for a death row-bound, Malay male convicted of drugs trafficking; Within the span of allocated time, JBJ managed to raise only three points of the clemency plea before interrupted by the Speaker of the House; Rising to reply JBJ's tirades was the Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee.
^ abAglionby, John (8 May 2005). "Singapore finally finds a voice in death row protest". The Observer. London. Retrieved 30 December 2007. Murugesu, 38, a former jet ski champion, military veteran and civil servant, was arrested in August 2003 after six packets containing a total of just over a kilo of cannabis were found in his bags when he returned home after a trip to Malaysia. He admitted to knowing about one of the packets, containing 300 g, but nothing about the others; The government clearly does not want the campaign gathering momentum. The partially state-owned local media ignored the vigil and the police shut down the open mike session just as the first person was getting into his stride.
^"IR Legislation; Death Row in Singapore". The Law Report. Melbourne: ABC Radio National. 8 November 2005. Retrieved 30 December 2007. [...] he was caught for one kilogram of cannabis which is what he was charged for, although he admitted only one packet.
^Martin Abbugao (AFP) (16 May 2005). "Singapore anti-death penalty fight lives on". The Standard. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 21 January 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2007. In an example of the extent authorities still monitor dissenters, an "open mike session" at the vigil in which the audience was invited to speak was abruptly ended just after the first speaker began to talk. Organizers said plainclothes police officers stepped in and asked them to scrap that portion of the program. The death row is about a couple weeks long, and only one appeal is permitted
^Shadrake, Alan (28 October 2005). "Nguyen executioner revealed". The Australian. Surry Hills, NSW, Australia: News Limited. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2007. Mr Singh joined the British colonial prison service in the mid-1950s after arriving from Malaysia. When the long-established British hangman Mr Seymour retired, Singh, then 27, volunteered for the job. He was attracted by the bonus payment for executions. Mr Singh is credited with being the only executioner in the world to single-handedly hang 18 men in one day -- three at a time. They had been convicted of murdering four prison officers during a riot on the penal island of Pulau Senang in 1963. He also hanged seven condemned men within 90 minutes a few years later. They had been convicted in what became known as the "gold bars murders", in which a merchant and two employees were killed during a robbery. One of the most controversial executions in his career was the 1991 hanging of a young Filipina maid, Flor Contemplacion, who was convicted of the murder of a co-worker, Delia Maga, and her four-year-old son, on what many believed was shaky evidence. He carries out the executions wearing simple casual clothes, often just a T-shirt, shorts, sports shoes and knee-length socks. To mark his 500th hanging four years ago, four of his former colleagues turned up at his home to celebrate the event with a couple of bottles of Dom Perignon. Mr Singh boasts that he has never botched an execution. "Mr Seymour taught him just how long the drop should be according to weight and height and exactly where the knot should be placed at the back of the neck," his colleague said. "Death has always come instantaneously and painlessly. In that split second, at precisely 6 am, it's all over."
^"The Singapore Government's Response To Amnesty International's Report "Singapore - The Death Penalty: A Hidden Toll of Executions"". Ministry of Home Affairs. 30 January 2004. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2013. Contrary to AI's claims, Singaporeans, not foreigners, were the majority of those executed in Singapore. From 1993 to 2003, 64% of those executed were Singaporeans. In the last five years, 73% executed were Singaporeans. Given that one in four residents in Singapore is a foreigner, it is not only false but mischievous to allege that a significant proportion of prisoners executed were foreigners; Although family members are not with the inmate at the moment of execution, they are informed four days before the executions (for foreigners, the families and embassy will be informed earlier, usually seven to fourteen days) and allowed daily visits lasting up to four hours for each visit during these four days. The execution is carried out in the presence of a Prison medical doctor. Upon request, a priest or a religious minister is allowed to be present, to pray for the person to be executed; Our prison conditions are spartan but adequate. Visiting Justices, who are prominent members of the community, conduct regular unannounced visits to the prison institutions to make sure that prisoners, including those on death row, are not ill-treated. It is not true that prisoners are not allowed to exercise. All prisoners, including condemned prisoners, are entitled to their daily exercises. In fact, there are two exercise yards dedicated for this use. They are normally allowed to exercise twice a day, half an hour each time, one or two at a time.
^Cornelius-Takahama, Vernon (2001). "Pulau Senang". National Library Board, Singapore. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2012.