Press release from the desk of lawyer, M Ravi.
Court to reconsider death penalty in Yong’s case
Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian man who has been living on Singapore’s death row since he was convicted of trafficking narcotics into Singapore in 2008, when he was 19 years old, will have another opportunity to make his case in Court as to why he should be spared the death penalty. Pursuant to recent amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, Mr Yong has received a Certificate of Cooperation from the Public Prosecutor. Such a certificate indicates that the young man has provided such substantive assistance to the Central Narcotics Bureau as to disrupt drug trafficking activities in Singapore or abroad, and he will therefore be considered to receive an exemption from the Mandatory Death Penalty.
“This news comes as a tremendous relief to me,” stated Mr Yong’s lawyer, Singapore human rights activist, Mr M Ravi. “It has been nearly four years now, that we have been fighting to save Vui Kong’s life.”
Yong Vui Kong has been the subject of an international campaign against Singapore’s Mandatory Death Penalty [“MDP”] scheme, whereby persons found in possession of narcotics in certain amounts are deemed traffickers by the Courts, and sentenced to death by hanging. Two days prior to Mr Yong’s scheduled execution in 2009, his execution was dramatically stayed as a result of a Constitutional Challenge to the MDP brought by Yong’s lawyer, Mr Ravi, along with an international team of lawyers to include UK Queen’s Counsel, Mr Edward Fitzgerald.
This legal action led to a series of challenges in the Courts, which questioned the Constitutionality of the Mandatory Death Penalty. At the same time, regional and international groups, the Anti-Death Penalty Asian Network [ADPAN] and Amnesty International, were joined by Singaporean anti-death penalty activists to include the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign [SADPC] and “We Believe in Second Chances” to publicly
In 2011, Singapore’s Parliament suspended all executions to conduct a review of the Mandatory Death Penalty regime. The result of this review came in late 2012, wherein exceptions to the death penalty could be made for those deemed drug couriers. The two exceptions include the level of cooperation that applies in Mr Yong’s case. The second exception allows persons with mental deficiencies to be spared from the death penalty.
Mr Ravi, who has continued to act as Mr Yong’s attorney, will be applying to the Court for re-sentencing under section 33(2)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act. The burden of proof is on the Defendant, Mr Yong, to show the Court that on the balance of probabilities, the death penalty should to be lifted in his case.