The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia issued a strong statement on Friday to condemn the execution of Malaysian national Prabu N. Pathmanathan by the Singapore government for a drug-related offence this morning.
“We are deeply dismayed that there has been a sharp increase in executions in Singapore in recent years, with eight individuals executed in Singapore in 2017, all of which were for drug-related offences. We understand that there have also been a number of executions to date in 2018, including a reported four this week alone,” said the Office’s Regional Representative, Cynthia Veliko.
“We continue to be concerned regarding the lack of data and publicly available information on scheduled executions. The only available figures on executions are released once a year by the Singapore Prison Service in its annual report. However, these statistics do not reveal any disaggregated information on the executed individuals,” she said.
The Office regrets that Singapore continues to uphold the death penalty for drug-related offences, as international law stipulates that 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 this threshold.
Last week, Mr. Prabu N. Pathmanathan was informed that his petition for clemency had been rejected, and that he would be executed on 26 October 2018.
Mr. Prabu, 31 years old, was arrested in December 2014 in relation to the seizure of 227.82 grams of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin. The heroin was found in his car that another person was driving, during a random search by immigration officers in Singapore. Mr. Prabu claimed that he had no knowledge of the nature of the drugs.
On 28 June 2017, Mr. Prabu was convicted and sentenced to death under section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act by the High Court of the Republic of Singapore.
“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 its full abolition,” said Ms. Veliko.
We also urge the Government of Singapore to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its second optional protocol on the abolition of the death penalty.
To date, at least 170 States in the world have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on its use.
As stated by Secretary-General, the death penalty has no place in the 21st century