UN experts deplore execution of Malaysian national in Singapore


UN human rights experts* today deplored the execution of Kalwant Singh a/l Jogindar Singh, a Malaysian national convicted of drug offences in Singapore.

Singh’s death sentence was enforced early in the morning on 7 July after an application for a stay of execution was dismissed on Wednesday, 6 July. He was charged with trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking of diamorphine and convicted and sentenced to death by the High Court of Singapore on 1 June 2016. The conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 10 March 2017.

“We strongly deplore the execution of Mr. Kalwant Singh a/l Jogindar Singh and deeply regret that our calls for the death sentence imposed against him to be commuted remained once again unheard,” the experts said.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concerns at the increase of executions in Singapore, including in relation to Malaysian nationals, like Mr. Kalwant Singh a/l Jogindar Singh, who belong to an ethnic minority,” the UN experts said. “A disproportionate number of minority persons were being sentenced to the mandatory death penalty in Singapore,” they said.

“We reiterate – States that have not yet abolished the death penalty may only impose it for the ‘most serious crimes’, meaning intentional killing, which remains the only category of offense for which the death penalty can be imposed under international law.”

Drug offences do not meet this threshold, the experts said. “There is no evidence that the use of the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crimes,” they noted. They also stressed that the mandatory use of the death penalty constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, where it is imposed without considering the defendant’s personal circumstances or the circumstances of the particular offence.

“We urge the Government of Singapore to abolish the death penalty expeditiously and, pending abolition, to impose a moratorium on its use. As a first step and without delay, they should review the scope of its application, to ensure that it is only imposed in cases involving intentional killing,” they said.

“We stand ready to support and to assist all the relevant authorities in any effort in this regard.”

The experts have written to the Government of Singapore to express their concerns.

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