By International Federation for Human Rights
Singaporean President Tony Tan must grant clemency to Malaysian national Kho Jabing and commute his death sentence to life imprisonment, FIDH said today. Kho Jabing’s execution, by hanging, is scheduled to take place on 20 May 2016.
“We renew our call on Singapore’s President to halt the execution of Kho Jabing. It is not too late for Mr. Tan to do the right thing and exercise his power to grant clemency as has been done in the past,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.
The last clemency in Singapore was granted in May 1998, when late President Ong Teng Cheong commuted Mathavakannan Kalimuthu’s death sentence to life imprisonment. Mathavakannan had been found guilty of murder.
On 30 July 2010, Kho Jabing, 31, was sentenced to death for the murder of a Chinese citizen in February 2008. In January 2013, amendments on the imposition of the mandatory death penalty gave judges discretion to sentence defendants to life imprisonment in certain categories of murder. As a result, Kho Jabing was re-sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2013. However, the prosecution appealed the court’s decision to re-sentence Kho Jabing and in January 2015 the Court of Appeals reinstated his original death sentence with a 3-2 decision. 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 Appeals to reconsider its earlier decision. On 5 April, 2016, the Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the motion for reconsideration of Kho Jabing’s case.
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 that 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 an official moratorium on executions and to make progress towards the abolition of capital punishment for all crimes.