BANGKOK (16 March 2018) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia condemns the execution of Singaporean national Hishamrudin bin Mohd for a drug-related offence this morning, expressing concerns that he had not been able to file a clemency petition.
“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,” said the Office’s Regional Representative, Cynthia Veliko. “Drug-related offences do not fall under this threshold.”
“We deeply regret that in 2017, eight individuals were executed for drug-related offences in Singapore, which is a sharp increase from previous years. We have also received information that there was another execution for drug-related offences last Friday, bringing the total known figure to two executions so far in 2018,” she said.
This week, Hishamrudin bin Mohd filed a last-minute application for judicial review by the Court of Appeal and had a closed-door hearing on 15 March 2018. However, the Court of Appeal denied his application.
On Monday, Mr. Hishamrudin’s family was informed that he would be executed on 16 March 2018. They were also informed that the petition for clemency had been rejected, although they had not yet filed a proper clemency petition on his case.
Mr. Hishamrudin, 57, was arrested and charged with two offences for possessing a total of 38.50 grams of a pure form of heroin on 7 October 2010. He has consistently maintained his innocence, and claimed to have no knowledge of the nature of the drugs, nor that he possessed them for the purposes of trafficking.
On 6 April 2016, Mr. Hishamrudin was convicted and sentenced to death under section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act. On 3 July 2017, his appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
“We repeat our call to the Government of Singapore to immediately instate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty as part of a process toward the full abolishment of capital punishment,” said Ms. Veliko.