Amnesty International Malaysia is deeply disappointed with the Singaporean Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss the stay application filed by the lawyers of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan and the decision to proceed with his execution, scheduled tomorrow at Changi Prison.
“While the legal team of Prabagaran has raised their concerns of an unfair trial and Prabagaran has maintained his innocence, it is concerning that the Singaporean authorities are displaying great urgency in its need to execute him while there is an appeal filed in his home country Malaysia. He must not be denied the right to exhaust all legal remedies,” says Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia.
“The 2012 attempt by the Singaporean authorities to reform the application of the mandatory death penalty should have signaled the government’s move to end the use of this cruel and inhumane method of punishment, instead of creating a sense of urgency to execute more people on death row. We urge the Singapore government to halt the execution of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan immediately,” she says.
Prabagaran Srivijayan’s execution has been scheduled for Friday, 14 July 2017, according to his family who were informed last week. Prabagaran Srivijayan was convicted of drug trafficking and given a mandatory death sentence in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine was found in the arm rest of a car he borrowed. He has consistently maintained his innocence.
Prabagaran Srivijayan’s legal team have raised serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, including the authorities’ failure to follow up leads and call on key witnesses that would corroborate his version of events.
His legal representatives also launched a case in Malaysia in March 2017 to urge the country to seek the intervention of the International Court of Justice, with an appeal on the matter still being considered at the Court of Appeal. International safeguards for death row prisoners clearly state that the death penalty must not be carried out while appeals are pending.
Under Singaporean law, when there is a presumption of drug possession and trafficking, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecutor to the defendant. This violates the right to a fair trial in international human rights law by turning the presumption of innocence on its head.
Drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” to which the use of the death penalty must be restricted under international law and standards, which also prohibit the imposition of the death penalty as a mandatory punishment.
Since Singapore ended a moratorium on executions in 2014, the authorities have executed at least ten people, including seven for drug trafficking. In 2016, four people were executed – two for murder and two for drug trafficking – while at least 38 people were known to be on death row at the end of that year.
Amnesty International opposes the use of the death penalty outright, regardless of the crime. As of today 103 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and 141 are abolitionist in law or practice.
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