Local NGO, Think Centre issues statement to condemn impending execution of Muhammad Ridzuan

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Think Centre, a Singapore non-government organisation for political development, democracy, rule of law, human rights and civil society, issues a statement to condemn the impending execution of Muhammad Ridzuan Bin Md Ali.

It states that it is greatly disturbed by the imminent execution of Muhammad Ridzuan scheduled for this Friday morning, 19 May 2017 and regrets that the Cabinet of Singapore has once again failed to advise the sitting President to grant clemency.

The last known clemency was granted 19 years ago in 1998 by the first elected President of Singapore, the late honourable Mr Ong Teng Cheong.

In Singapore, the President acts on the advice of the cabinet which means the clemency granted by Mr Ong was by the approval of the cabinet during his term of presidency.

"Our judges’ hands are tied when no Certificate of Cooperation (COC) is issued by the prosecutors. It is also most troubling and unfortunate to see that in this case as with past recent executions, most of those sentenced to death are couriers and not highly placed masterminds, unfairly so." wrote Think Centre and stated that the case of Muhd Ridzuan shows that the death penalty regime is still as irrefutably flawed as it was, before the amendment in 2012.

The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has the sole prerogative over a drug courier’s life or death. They alone decide if the accused has provided “substantive assistance” to issue the Certificate of Cooperation (COC).

It notes that Singapore has failed to put forward any decisive case on whether these executions have successfully disrupted any major syndicate and that this is in glaring opposition to recent news of a former grassroots leader who profited for 2 years as one of the 5 leaders of a syndicate distributing different drugs in Singapore.

Think Centre reiterates that death penalty imposed for drug trafficking crimes does not meet the international standard of the “most serious crimes" and calls for the State to reenact a moratorium on the death penalty and consider more humane, compassionate and effective policies against such crimes.

Think Centre also urges Singapore to invest in evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation of offenders to allow them to reintegrate with their family and communities