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Singapore Executes Man for Cannabis Trafficking

As Amnesty International pleads to stop Singapore’s fifth execution in under four months, one man, whose name is not being released, was executed by hanging at the Changi Prison Complex in east Singapore for the crime of trafficking cannabis. 

Singaporean executions are carried out by “long-drop hanging”—usually taking place at dawn. The country is notorious for its use of corporal and capital punishments, and the country’s hanging system has been criticized for at least the past 20 years. A cane measuring 1.2 meters in length and approximately 1.2 cms wide is used for beating the criminal, often for drug offences, during canings. Death penalty must be applied to trafficking in cannabis.

Thanks to activists such as Kokila AnnamalaiWe know that the War on Drugs can lead to severe injustices in remote parts of the world. Annamalai and others are sick of seeing drug-related criminals executed, even if they involve cannabis.

“We have confirmation that a 49-year-old Singaporean Malay man was executed today, 26 July, at Changi Prison,” Annamalai tweeted. “He has lived in prison since 2015, after being convicted of trafficking in cannabis (marijuana). He was sentenced to the mandatory death penalty.”

According to activists, racism plays a part in this situation because the region is accused of making racially biased legal decisions. One of the 17 prisoner who filed suit against Singapore accusing it of racism in its prosecution of capital punishment cases was a Malay 49-year old man for marijuana trafficking. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was tossed out and nearly anyone involved in the case was allegedly targeted—even the defense attorney.

“This is the 6th confirmed execution in a span of 4 months,” Annamalai continued in subsequent tweets. “He was one of 17 prisoners who had filed a historic suit accusing the Singapore state of racial bias in their prosecutions in capital punishment cases. The suit was thrown out last year and their lawyer M Ravi was slapped with heavy fines after being accused of abuse of process by the attorney-general (AG).”

Singapore is not open to the public any information regarding executions in Singapore, including hangings. Transformative Justice Collective, an anti-death penalty NGOs in Singapore asks questions about the death and surrounding circumstances. They get information through other prisoners or inmates’ relatives, which is the only way information is possible.

Singaporean Nazeri Lajim, 64, also was executed by authorities. He had previously been sentenced for trafficking 960 grams heroin in 2017.

These were the earlier days of this month. VICE World NewsFollowed the families of those on death row for drug offenses in Singapore. Their appeals for mercy to the President were denied and their hopes of a quick release were dashed in the worst place on Earth to get caught with drug-related charges.

“This morning, the family of Kalwant Singh, a Malaysian on death row in Singapore, was informed that his execution has been scheduled for next week, 7 July 2022,”  the Transformative Justice Collective tweeted on June 29.

Singh was arrested for drug possession in 2013. Singh was only 23 at the time and spent nine years behind bars.

COVID-19 brought an end to executions of prisoners by hanging, according to activists.

VICE World News reports that Malaysia and Singapore shared a gung-ho approach to the death penalty, but both countries’ approach to drugs were originally rooted in British colonial-era laws. However, in Thailand cannabis was decriminalized. This suggests that reform of drug policy is needed in every corner.