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Singapore hangs second citizen in three weeks for trafficking cannabis despite calls to halt executions

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (AP) – Singapore yesterday hanged another citizen for trafficking cannabis, the second in three weeks, as it clung firmly to the death penalty despite growing calls for the city-state to halt drug-related executions.

The 37-year-old man was executed after his last-ditch bid to reopen his case was dismissed by the court on Tuesday without a hearing, said activist of the Transformative Justice Collective Kokila Annamalai, which advocates for abolishing the death penalty in Singapore.

The man, who was not named as his family has asked for privacy, had been imprisoned for seven years and convicted in 2019 for trafficking around 1.5 kilogrammes (kg) of cannabis, she said. His bid to reopen his case was based on DNA evidence and fingerprints that tied him to a much smaller amount, which he admitted to possessing, but the court rejected it, she added.

Under Singapore laws, trafficking more than 500 grammes of cannabis may result in the death penalty. “If we don’t come together to stop it, we fear that this killing spree will continue in the weeks and months to come,” she said. Some 600 prisoners are on death row in the city-state, mostly for drug-related offences, she added.

Singapore executed 11 people last year for drug offences after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hanging of one particular Malaysian believed to be mentally disabled sparked an international outcry and brought the country’s capital punishment under scrutiny for flouting human rights norms.

Three weeks ago, Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, was hanged in the first execution this year for trafficking one kg of cannabis although he was not caught with the drugs.

Prosecutors said phone numbers traced him as the person responsible for coordinating the delivery of the drugs, which he denied.

The Singapore Prison Service. PHOTO: AP
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