FIDH: Halt imminent execution of Nigerian national Chijioke Obioha

Paris, 16 November 2016 – Singaporean President Tony Tan must grant clemency to Nigerian national Chijioke Obioha, FIDH said today. Chijioke Obioha is scheduled to be executed by hanging on 18 November 2016.

“President Tan must urgently put a halt to Chijioke Obioha’s execution and grant him clemency. It is unacceptable that Singapore still uses the death penalty, an antiquated and barbaric form of punishment that has been consistently proven ineffective,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.

On 30 December 2008, Singapore’s High Court imposed a mandatory death sentence on Chijioke Obioha for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, after he was found in possession of more than 2.6 kilograms of cannabis on 9 April 2007. In August 2010, the court rejected Mr. Obioha’s appeal against his conviction and sentence. Chijioke Obioha has spent more than nine years in prison, including seven years awaiting execution.

International law reserves the death penalty solely for the “most serious crimes,” a threshold that international jurisprudence has repeatedly stated drug-related offenses do not meet.

The last ditch motion was filed earlier this evening by Chijoke’s lawyer, Mr Joseph Chen Kok Siang. It is understood that the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) member, Mr M. Ravi, is assisting Mr Joseph with the research for the application.

As of May 2016, the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) estimated there were at least 25 inmates on death row – 23 of whom had been convicted of drug-related offenses. From 2007 to 2015, government figures show that Singapore executed 24 inmates, 14 of whom had been convicted of drug-related offenses. While the government publishes annual statistics on the total number of executions, it consistently fails to make public announcements concerning upcoming hangings and to reveal the number of prisoners on death row.

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 calls on the Singaporean government to reinstate the moratorium on executions that was lifted in July 2014, and to make progress towards the abolition of capital punishment for all crimes. FIDH also urges Singapore to vote in favor of the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution – due to be voted on in December 2016 – that calls for a moratorium on executions.

An urgent criminal motion was earlier filed in the Court of Appeal on Wednesday late evening by Chijoke’s lawyer, Mr Joseph Chen Kok Siang in an attempt to halt his execution on Friday.

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