SADPC – Dismay at 24 cane strokes for former death sentence convict.

Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) issued a press release in response to the judgement to have the death sentence of 23 year old Fabian Adiu Edwin to be commuted to life imprisonment. Though heartened by the decision, the organizers of the campaign express their dismay that Fabian will be subjected to 24 strokes of cane on top of his life imprisonment.

The campaign organizers hope that the caning of Fabian will not be accepted as legal precedence, or as substitute for the death sentence.

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“The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) is encouraged to learn that Fabian Adiu Edwin, a 23 year old Malaysian from Sabah, had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment on 16 July 2013. We express dismay, however, at the 24 strokes of cane he will additionally receive as punishment.

Fabian, then 19, was part of a duo involved in the fatal robbery of a security guard in 2009. He was convicted of murder and given the mandatory death sentence for causing skull fractures that led to the latter’s death.

Under the recent amendments to the Penal Code and Misuse of Drugs Act which provides for judicial discretion in the sentencing of murders (among other crimes), High Court judge Chan Seng Onn reviewed the case and re-sentenced Fabian to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane, citing Fabian’s youth at the time of the offence and sub-normal intellect as mitigating factors.

Fabian’s commutation marks a hopeful, if mixed beginning for the series of death sentence reviews to take place since the amendments were introduced in November last year. As more cases are reviewed in the coming months, we look forward to more positive developments. We hope that the caning of Fabian will not be accepted as legal precedence, or as substitute for the death sentence.

We at SADPC are committed towards the complete abolition of the death penalty as it is a cruel, inhumane and vindictive act that does little in practice to serve justice. Further, while SADPC has not traditionally campaigned against judicial corporal punishment such as caning, we reject it on the same grounds.

With this, we strongly urge the government to be forward-looking and, as many civilised societies that abolished the death penalty and judicial corporate punishment have, consider alternative forms of punishment that protect the human rights of both convicts and victims. We must not continue the practice of killing or inflicting physical pain on another human being in the name of justice or maintaining”