Social Issues

Singapore executes another prisoner convicted of drug offenses

Update 1: Adds EU reactions

Singapore, Jul 22 (EFE).- Singapore hanged a prisoner sentenced to death for drug crimes on Friday, the fifth execution since the city-state resumed the practice at the end of March.

Singaporean Nazeri Lajim, 64, was hanged in the early morning at Changi Prison.

The European Union said it firmly opposes the death penalty, after the execution today in Singapore of a man convicted of drug crimes, and urged the country to “urgently” commute the sentences of the prisoners currently on death row.

The EU is “firmly” opposed to the death penalty “at all times and in all circumstances,” Peter Stano, a European External Action Service Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a statement.

“It is cruel and inhumane punishment, which does not act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” Stano said.

The union urged Singapore to “urgently commute the sentences of prisoners currently on death row to sentences other than death and to institute a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to to its final abolition.”

In the last 10 years, there have been no executions in 162 United Nations Member States, which represents 84 percent of their total number, said the spokesman.

He added that the European Union would continue to work for the abolition of the death penalty in the few countries that still apply it.

Anti-death penalty campaigner Kokila Annamalai and lawyer Ravi Madasamy, a lawyer who often represents death row inmates, confirmed the execution on social media.

Lajim was sentenced in 2017 for possessing not less than 33.39 grams of diamorphine (heroin) for the purpose of trafficking.

He presented a last-minute request in court the previous day to delay the execution, which was rejected by the magistrates.

Annamalai said funeral prayers would be held in the morning and Lajim would then be taken to a Muslim cemetery.

Singapore has some of the world’s most draconian laws against drug use and trafficking, punishing in most cases with the death penalty, and carried out opaquely.

International law restricts capital punishment to the “most serious crimes,” generally defined to include only intentional killing, Amnesty International has said.

Activists in Singapore warn that the current number of prisoners on death row is leading to an acceleration of executions after two years of hiatus due to the pandemic.

They resumed on Mar. 30 with the hanging of Abdul Kahar bin Othman, a 68-year-old Singaporean convicted of drug trafficking 66.77g of diamorphine.

On Apr. 27, Singapore executed intellectually disabled Malaysian Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 33 years old and convicted of drug trafficking 42.7g of diamorphine, despite criticism from the international community and requests for the suspension of his sentence.

On July 7, the authorities executed two others: Malaysian Kalwant Singh, 31, and Singaporean Norasharee Gous, 48, also convicted of drug crimes. EFE


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