International Human Rights group, FIDH calls for the halt of Kho Jabing’s execution

Statement by FIDH, International Federation for Human Rights

Singapore must halt the execution of Malaysian national Kho Jabing and reinstate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, FIDH said today.

FIDH made the call on the same day Singapore’s Court of Appeal unanimously rejected a motion for review of Kho Jabing’s case. Singaporean President Tony Tan is now expected to authorize Kho Jabing’s execution by hanging.

“Singapore’s President must do the right thing and not authorize Kho Jabing’s execution and grant him clemency. It is unbecoming of a modern state like Singapore to sanction such a barbaric and outdated practice,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

On 30 July 2010, Malaysian national Kho Jabing, 31, was sentenced to death for the murder of a Chinese citizen in February 2008. As a result of Singapore’s abolition of the mandatory death penalty – under certain circumstances – for murder and drug trafficking in January 2013, Kho Jabing was re-sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2013. However, after the prosecution appealed the decision, in January 2015 the Court of Appeal reinstated his original death sentence with a 3-2 verdict. In November 2015, less than 24 hours before he was to be hanged, Kho Jabing’s lawyer obtained a temporary stay of execution and petitioned the Court of Appeal to review the case.

In justifying the court’s decision to reject Kho Jabing’s motion to review his case, Judge Chao Hick Tin said that the number of applications to the court to reconsider its decisions had “increased dramatically in recent years” and that the power of the court to reopen a concluded criminal case was to be exercised only in “exceptional” circumstances.

It is estimated there are about 30 individuals awaiting execution in Singapore. Singapore resumed executions in July 2014, ending an official moratorium that had been in place since July 2011.

At its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), held on 27 January 2016, Singapore received 13 recommendations that called for progress towards the abolition of the death penalty. Twenty countries recommended the Singaporean government re-establish a moratorium on executions.

FIDH, a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), reiterates its strong opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances. FIDH also calls on the Singaporean government to reinstate a moratorium on executions and to make progress towards the abolition of capital punishment for all crimes.