Paris, 18 May 2017: FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights calls for Singaporean authorities to immediately halt the planned execution of Muhammad Ridzuan and establish an official moratorium on all executions, FIDH said in a press statement today.
Ridzuan, 32, a Singaporean, is scheduled to be executed by hanging on Friday morning, 19 May 2017.
On 15 May 2017, authorities notified Ridzuan’s family that President Tony Tan had denied his request for clemency. In Singapore, the President has to act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet.
On 10 April 2013, Singapore’s High Court imposed a mandatory death sentence on Ridzuan for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, after he was found in possession of 72.5 grams of heroin on 6 May 2010. On 27 February 2014, the Court of Appeal dismissed Ridzuan’s appeal against his conviction and sentence.
The Public Prosecutor denied Ridzuan a certificate declaring that he had “substantively assisted the Central Narcotics Bureau in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore.” This certificate of assistance would have limited Ridzuan’s sentence to life in prison.
This decision was made despite the fact that the Public Prosecutor granted a certificate of assistance to his co-defendant, who was sentenced to life in prison and caning. Ridzuan’s application to reverse the Public Prosecutor’s decision to deny him a certificate of assistance was dismissed by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Accordingly, his death sentence was upheld.
Just yesterday, Eugene Thuraisingam who is the representing lawyer for Ridzuan, wrote in his Facebook post:
“The result was that two mere couriers, who participated in the same criminal enterprise received very different sentences as a result of the Public Prosecutor’s determination that Abdul Haleem had provided substantial assistance, while Ridzuan had not.
Ridzuan was only 25 years of age at the time of the offence. He is now 32 years old.
Is there no chance of rehabilitation for a young Singaporean offender who was only 25 years of age and even then only a mere courier? Should 2 offenders who committed the same offence be given very different sentences based solely on the Public Prosecutor’s determination?”
Ridzuan has spent more than seven years in prison, including more than four years awaiting execution.
International law reserves the death penalty for the “most serious crimes,” a threshold that international jurisprudence has repeatedly stated drug-related offenses do not meet.
If Ridzuan is hanged, it will be the third documented execution in Singapore since the beginning of the year. On 17 March 2017, Singaporean authorities executed an unknown individual. On 21 April 2017, Singaporean authorities executed Jeffrey Abineno, 52, for drug trafficking.
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.