As the World Day against Death Penalty approaches on 10th October 2009, we the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign call upon the Singapore government to join 138 states throughout the world that have ceased executions in law or practice.
We mark this day by campaigning for the clemency of Yong Vui Kong, 21,a Malaysian who had been sentenced to death as a result of drug trafficking. He was 19 when he was caught for drug trafficking in June 2008.
Singapore is estimated to have one of the highest per capita executions rates in the world.Most death sentences in Singapore follow convictions for drug trafficking. The Misuse of Drugs Act provides at least 20 different offences and contains a series of presumptions which shift the burden of proof from the Prosecution to the Defence. The UN Rights Committee have concluded that the death penalty for drug offences fails to meet the condition of “most serious crime”.
The UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions has called for the death penalty to be eliminated for drug-related offences and has argued that the mandatory nature of the sentence is a violation of international legal standards.
There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters serious crimes in general more effectively than other punishments. The most recent survey of research findings on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates, conducted for the United Nations (UN) in 1988 and updated in 1996 and 2002, concluded: “…research has failed to provide the scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis.”
Yong Vui Kong is a case of a youth who had fallen into the snare of drug trafficking against the backdrop of his vulnerable circumstances. His parents were divorced when he was 10 and had to stop education as he comes from a poor family. His mother suffers from depression and is still kept in the dark about her son’s impending execution. His clemency petition had been submitted to the President a month ago.
We ask that the Ministry of Home Affairs provide annual statistics of executions in Singapore which is part of public information as acknowledged by the Minister of Law recently.
Please join us on 10 October 2009 at 2.30 pm, Oxford Hotel, to mark the World Day against Death Penalty in Singapore and say no to the execution of Yong Vui Kong by signing a petition to the President. This is one of the ways to tell the state that it does not have your mandate to go ahead with its planned execution of Yong Vui Kong which is done on behalf of the people.
Convenor of Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
M. Ravi, Human Rights lawyer
Alex Au, Yawning Bread
Sinapan Samydorai, Thinkcentre
Breama Mathi, Maruah
Agnes Chia, Social worker
Moderated by local artist Alfian Saat
Saturday, October 10, 2009
2:30pm – 5:30pm
Oxford Hotel, 218 Queen Street, Singapore
To visit the event’s facebook page click here