Paris, 12 July 2017 – Singaporean authorities must halt the execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan, FIDH said today. Prabagaran, a 29-year-old Malaysian national, is scheduled to be executed by hanging on 14 July 2017.
“Singapore must immediately halt the execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan and put an end to all executions in the country. It is disturbing that Singapore continues to impose mandatory death sentences for drug-related crimes, which do not meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’ under international law,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.
On 22 September 2014, Singapore’s High Court imposed a mandatory death sentence on Prabagaran for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, after he was found in possession of 22.24 grams of heroin on 12 April 2012. On 2 October 2015, the Court of Appeal dismissed Prabagaran’s appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Singaporean authorities have never allowed Prabagaran’s attorneys, N Surendran and Latheefa Koya, who were hired by Prabagaran’s mother in January 2017, to visit him in Changi Prison. Authorities did not provide any reason for this denial. The denial of Prabagaran to meet with his legal representatives falls short of international fair trial standards. According to General Comment No. 32 concerning Article 14(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), “in cases involving capital punishment, it is axiomatic that the accused must be effectively assisted by a lawyer at all stages of the proceedings.”
Prabagaran has spent more than five years in prison, including almost three 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 Prabagaran is hanged, it will be the fourth documented execution in Singapore since the beginning of the year. On 17 March 2017, Singaporean authorities executed an unknown individual. On 21 April 2017 and 19 May 2017, Singaporean authorities executed Jeffrey Marquez Abineno, 52, and Muhammad Ridzuan, 31, respectively, 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 does not 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.