EU to Singapore: Reinstate moratorium, abolish death penalty

By Howard Lee

The European Union has responded yesterday to the recent executions of two inmates – Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng, who were convicted in 2011 and sentenced to death for drug-related offences – in Singapore, calling for the Singapore government to reinstate a moratorium on executions and work towards the abolishment of the death penalty.

Tang and Foong were hanged to death at Changi Prison on 18 Jul, Friday. According to the Singapore government, the two men waived their right to a review of their mandatory death sentence, which they were entitled to after legislation to the death penalty was amended in November 2012.

Drug trafficking in Singapore currently carries a mandatory death under the Misuse of Drugs Act for specific amounts to drugs trafficked. This could be commuted to a sentence of life imprisonment and caning if certain conditions, such as diminished mental capacity and providing “substantive assistance” to the authorities to fight the illegal drug trade, are met.

While the death penalty stays, discretionary measures are now given to the judge.

The following is the EU’s statement in full, which is also available on the EU website.

“We deeply regret the recent execution in Singapore of two death row inmates Foong Chee Peng and Tang Hai Liang, convicted of drug trafficking. These executions ended the unofficial extension of the moratorium which was in place between July 2011 and December 2012.

The capital punishment can never be justified. The European Union opposes capital punishment under all circumstances and calls for its universal abolition.

We therefore call on the Singaporean authorities to reinstate a moratorium on executions as a first step towards the universal abolition of the death penalty, in line with global developments.”

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