UN Human Rights calls for Singapore to halt schedule execution of Malaysian, S Prabagaran

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UN Human Rights, South-East Asia Regional Office, calls for Singapore to halt the scheduled execution of Malaysian national S Prabagaran, and urge the Government to immediately reinstate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Prabagaran was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint.

Under international law, the death penalty may only be used for “the most serious crimes” which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. Drug-related offences do not fall under the threshold of “most serious crimes”. Furthermore, under domestic law, the death penalty is not mandatory for drug-related offences.

“The death penalty is not an effective deterrent relative to other forms of punishment nor does it protect people from drug abuse. The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has stated.

The organisation states that several States had called on Singapore to abolish the death penalty during its human rights review in Geneva in January 2016.

Prabagaran has maintained his innocence, saying that he didn’t own the car he drove, and wasn’t aware of the drugs being in it.

His lawyer N Surendran said Prabagaran faces execution within a few weeks.

Earlier in December 2016, Mr M. Ravi, a non-practicing lawyer and anti-death penalty activist, submitted a 10-page memorandum to the Malaysian High Commission in person. It was received by First Secretary, Nur Eliza Jemal Zainal and the Consular Officer, Siti Izayani. Prabagaran's mother, Mdm Eswari, who has been campaigning along side the legal team and activists to save his life, was also present at the briefing.