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Death Penalty

Singapore executes a woman for the first time in nearly 20 years

The execution was carried out despite appeals from rights groups, who argue capital punishment has no proven deterrent effect on crime.

SINGAPORE TODAY HANGED a 45-year-old citizen for drug trafficking, the city-state’s first execution of a woman in nearly 20 years, officials said.

The execution was carried out despite appeals from rights groups, who argue capital punishment has no proven deterrent effect on crime.

“The capital sentence of death imposed on Saridewi Binte Djamani was carried out on 28 July 2023,” the Central Narcotics Bureau said in a statement.

She was convicted of trafficking “not less than 30.72 grams” of heroin, more than twice the volume of the threshold to face the death penalty in Singapore.

Djamani, who was sentenced in 2018, “was accorded full due process under the law, and was represented by legal counsel throughout the process,” the bureau said.

“She appealed against her conviction and sentence, and the Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal on 6 October 2022,” the bureau said, adding that her plea for presidential clemency was also rejected.

Djamani is the first woman to be executed in the city-state since 2004, when Yen May Woen was hanged for drug trafficking, the Singapore Prison Service told AFP in an email.

Yen was a 36-year-old hairdresser, according to media reports.

Djamani today became the 15th prisoner sent to the gallows since the government resumed executions in March 2022 after a two-year pause during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A local man, Mohd Aziz bin Hussain, 57, was hanged on Wednesday for trafficking about 50 grams of heroin.

‘Tragic spotlight’

Local rights group Transformative Justice Collective today said it had confirmed that another drug convict on death row has been scheduled for execution on 3 August.

It identified the convict as a Singaporean man who worked as a delivery driver before his arrest in 2016.

He was convicted in 2019 of trafficking around 50 grams of heroin.

sign-at-the-border-crossing-when-entering-singapore-by-road-from-malaysia File image of a sign at the border crossing when entering Singapore by road from Malaysia. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

“This week has cast a harsh and tragic spotlight on the complete lack of death penalty reform in Singapore,” said Amnesty International’s death penalty expert Chiara Sangiorgio

“As most of the world turns its back on this cruel punishment, Singapore’s government continues down the path of executing people for drug-related crimes, violating international human rights law and standards.”

Singapore, a wealthy regional financial centre, insists the death penalty has helped make it one of Asia’s safest countries.

The city-state has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws – trafficking more than 500 grams of cannabis or over 15 grams of heroin can result in the death penalty.

Amnesty and other rights groups urged the government to halt the executions this week, saying there was no evidence the death penalty acted as a deterrent to crime.

“This is the fourth execution this year and there will be another one next week. It’s horrible for the families and worrying for other death row inmates,” Singaporean rights activist Kirsten Han told AFP.

There “is no sign of the government wanting to give an inch,” she added.

Billionaire Richard Branson yesterday urged Singapore to “grant mercy” to Djamani and stop her execution.

Singapore is among four countries – along with China, Iran and Saudi Arabia – confirmed to have executed prisoners for drug-related offenses last year, Amnesty said.

© AFP 2023 

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