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Singapore: Court of Appeal decision upholding Kho Jabing’s death sentence a serious blow to human rights

Statement by International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

The Court of Appeal’s decision to lift the stay of execution of Kho Jabing is a serious blow to human rights in Singapore, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today.

The ICJ urges the Government of Singapore to grant Kho Jabing clemency and immediately impose a moratorium on executions, with a view towards abolishing the death penalty in the near future.

“The death penalty is never justifiable,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “If Singapore goes through with the execution of Kho Jabing, it will go against the growing international consensus to abolish the death penalty.”

Currently, 117 member states of the United Nations support the General Assembly resolution passed in December 2014 calling for an international moratorium on the use of death penalty, the ICJ reminds.

The Geneva-based organization opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and considers the imposition of the death penalty to constitute a denial of the right to life and a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

The ICJ has received information that there are nine other individuals currently on death row in Singapore.

Authorities have not yet released the date of Kho Jabing’s execution.

The lawyers of Kho Jabing will be filing a petition for clemency in the next few days.

The ICJ urges the Government of Singapore to halt the imminent execution of Kho Jabing, grant the petition for clemency and commute his death sentence.

Background

Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Singapore in 2010. After amendments were made in 2012 on the laws on the death penalty in Singapore, Kho Jabing was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane. The prosecution, however, appealed the re-sentencing and the case was brought to the Court of Appeal.

The court rejected his application for clemency in October 2015. On 23 November 2015, he was granted a temporary reprieve pending the outcome of a petition filed by his lawyers, which raised questions of fact and law.

The decision of the Court of Appeal this morning lifted the temporary reprieve and upheld its decision to impose the death penalty on Kho Jabing.