According to officials, Singapore executed a prisoner on Wednesday who had been found guilty of planning to smuggle one kilogram of marijuana, defying international calls for the city-state to abolish the death penalty.
The United Nations Human Rights Office urged Singapore to “urgently reconsider” the hanging, and British businessman Richard Branson called for an end to the execution. Nevertheless, it went forward.
Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, was executed today in the Changi Prison Complex, according to a spokesman for the Singapore Prisons Service, who talked to AFP.
In 2017, Tangaraju was found guilty of “abetting by engaging in a conspiracy to traffic” 1,017.9 grams (35.9 ounces) of marijuana, more than twice the legal limit in Singapore for a death sentence.
2018 saw his death sentence, and the Court of Appeal upheld it.
Tangaraju was “not anywhere near” the narcotics at the time of his arrest, according to Branson, a member of the Geneva-based Global Commission on Drug Policy, who also said that Singapore may be poised to execute an innocent man.
Tangaraju’s culpability has been established beyond a reasonable doubt, the Home Affairs Ministry of Singapore retorted on Tuesday.
The ministry claimed that two mobile phone numbers that the prosecution claimed to be his were used to organize the narcotics deliveries.
Cannabis has been decriminalized in numerous countries, including Thailand, a neighbor, and authorities there no longer impose prison sentences. As a result, pressure has been mounting on Singapore to do the same.
The financial capital of Asia has some of the strictest anti-drug legislation in the world and maintains that the death penalty is still a powerful deterrent against trafficking.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, however, is in disagreement.
The OHCHR stated in a statement on Tuesday that “the death penalty is still being used in a small number of countries, largely due to the myth that it deters crime.”
The family of Tangaraju demanded a new trial while simultaneously pleading for mercy.
The city-state has executed 12 people since last year, the 12th being on Wednesday.
In March 2022, Singapore resumed executions after a break of more than two years.
The death of Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who was believed to have a mental handicap, led to a worldwide uproar, including from the United Nations and Richard Branson. He was one of those who were hanged.
The death penalty has not been shown to be a successful deterrent on a worldwide scale, according to the UN, and it is inconsistent with international human rights legislation, which only permits the death penalty for the most serious offenses.