Singapore urged to halt two executions over disability concerns


Show caption Protesters voice concerns over the planned execution of of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam in November last year. The cases of Roslan bin Bakar and Pausi bin Jefridin have drawn comparisons to that of the Malaysian man.
Photograph: Fazry Ismail/EPA Singapore Singapore urged to halt two executions over disability concerns The men convicted for drug offences could be executed on Wednesday as Singapore draws increasing scrutiny over its use of the death penalty Rebecca Ratcliffe South-east Asia correspondent Tue 15 Feb 2022 06.39 GMT Share on Facebook

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Singapore has been urged to halt the scheduled execution of two men convicted of a drug trafficking offence, with campaigners describing the plans as cruel and inhumane.

Roslan bin Bakar and Pausi bin Jefridin, who were arrested in 2008, are due to be executed as early as Wednesday. Campaigners have raised numerous concerns about the handling of their cases, and say that Pausi, a Malaysian national, has an IQ of 67, and so should be protected under international law.

Singapore has some of the world’s harshest drugs laws, and its application of the death penalty has drawn increased international scrutiny.

Pausi’s case has drawn comparisons with that of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam, a Malaysian man with learning difficulties who was sentenced to the death penalty for smuggling a small amount of heroin.

He was told he would face execution in November 2021, prompting an international outcry from UN experts and international rights groups. At the time Singapore’s high court maintained that Nagaenthran had been accorded due process in line with the law. Nagaenthran was later given an indefinite stay of execution after testing positive for Covid.

Roslan bin Bakar and Pausi bin Jefridin were found guilty of trafficking 96.07 grams of diamorphine and 76.37 grams of methamphetamine, according to Transformative Justice Collective, which campaigns for reform of Singapore’s criminal justice system and provides support to people on death row.

Roslan’s lawyer also argued that he had reduced intellectual functioning, according to TJC, though his IQ was not mentioned in the court judgment.

Malaysian group Lawyers for Liberty said Singapore was ignoring its international obligations.

“Imposing the death penalty on persons with mental disability is contrary to customary international law, inhumane and sickening. Both international law and the Singapore constitution prohibits the execution of anyone who suffers from a mental disorder,” the group said in a statement.

Amnesty International said the executions, if they proceed, would be the first to be carried out in more than two years in Singapore.

Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Singapore researcher, said: “It is appalling that the Singapore government is planning to resume this cruel practice imminently. Executing individuals who have been sentenced for drug related offences and to the mandatory death penalty is in breach of restrictions under international law.”

“It is high time for Singapore to re-establish a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards full abolition. The global trend towards abolition continues unabated, with the majority of the world’s governments having abolished the cruel punishment in law or in practice.”