Statement by Ravina Shamdasani:
We urge the government of Singapore to halt the imminent execution of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam and Datchinamurthy Kataiah, two Malaysian nationals convicted of drug offences, amid what appears to be an alarming acceleration in execution notices in the country.
Dharmalingam was arrested in 2009 and convicted on charges of drug trafficking. His family was informed last week that he was due to be executed on 27 April. Multiple appeals claiming he had an intellectual disability were dismissed and requests for clemency denied.
Kataiah was arrested in 2011 and convicted on charges of trafficking diamorphine into Singapore. Last week, his family received notice that his execution was scheduled for 29 April.
We are deeply concerned at the rapid rise in the number of execution notices issued since the beginning of the year in Singapore, mainly for drug-related offences.
On 30 March, after a pause of more than two years in carrying out executions, Singapore executed Abdul Kahar bin Othman who was convicted of drug-related offences.
At least three other men found guilty of drug-related offences, Roslan bin Bakar, Rosman bin Abdullah and Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, remain at risk of imminent execution.
More than 50 people are reported to be on death row in Singapore.
The use of the death penalty for drug-related offences is incompatible with international human rights law. Countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty can only impose it for the “most serious crimes”, which are interpreted as crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing.
We urge the Singaporean authorities to immediately halt their execution plans, to consider granting Dharmalingham and Kataiah clemency, and to commute their sentences to prison terms.
We call upon Singapore to review its long-standing position on the death penalty in light of increasing evidence showing its ineffectiveness as a deterrent and to consider implementing a moratorium on all death sentences pending such review. – UN Human Rights