Have independent board for clemency petitions: SFD

Media Release

Singaporeans For Democracy (SFD)

25 August 2010

Independent Clemency Board for Death Penalty Petitions

Singaporeans For Democracy (SFD) calls on the Singapore government to set up an independent board to introduce transparency for deliberating clemency petitions in death penalty cases.

SFD makes this call following the recent high court ruling that the President has no powers on clemency.

On this point we like the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to confirm that the cabinet has always been the sole decision making body in deliberating clemency petitions.

SFD notes that the last clemency granted was during the tenure of former President Ong Teng Cheong.

In the interest of transparency, SFD would like the PMO to spell out its protocol for cabinet meetings in discussing clemency petitions.

Moving forward, SFD proposes that the Singapore government convenes an independent clemency board, so that the President in future can take a decision on advice of this board. Among the task of this clemency board can include visits to prisoners for assessment.

SFD notes that the Singapore government has set up boards, committees and councils to make decisions on a wide array of policies – from wages to public transport to political films – so why not an independent Board to deliberate transparently on clemency petitions, given that human lives are at stake.

If the Government wants to execute people in the name of its citizens, then the citizens of Singapore ought to have a right to full disclosures of the government’s deliberations on clemency petitions.

Dr James Gomez
Executive Director

Mr Martyn See
Executive Secretary