The large and sudden number of clemency rejections described as “unprecedented and shocking”.
Four Malaysians convicted of drug-related offences in Singapore face imminent execution after its president rejected the clemency petitions of up to 10 prisoners over the past week, says Lawyers For Liberty.
Its adviser N Surendran said in Singapore, the rejection of clemency petition is usually followed soon after by the prisoner’s execution.
Hence, he said it is probable that the prisoners will be executed within weeks from now.
Surendran said of the 10 prisoners, the four Malaysians were Datchinamurthy Kataiah, Gobi Avedian, Abdul Helmi Ab Halim and Rahmat.
“Singapore is doing so despite irrefutable evidence that hanging drug mules do not deter drug trafficking syndicates,” he said in a statement on Friday (July 12).
Surendran also said he believed that there were more clemency petitions rejected than the information on the 10 prisoners that he has received.
He added that the unusual number of simultaneous clemency rejections raises questions as to whether each prisoner’s case was duly considered by its Cabinet and president.
He described the large and sudden number of clemency rejections by as “unprecedented and shocking”.
“It indicates that Singapore is preparing for an execution binge, in total disregard of international legal norms and decent world opinion,” Surendran said.
He also claimed that statements made by Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam suggested that Malaysian prisoners were being targeted, adding that it also showed that the Singapore government had already decided not to spare any drug offenders from execution.
Surendran highlighted Shanmugam’s remarks on May 24, 2019, regarding drug offenders and the death penalty in Singapore, including “how do we go easy on Malaysians in the face of these statistics”.
Shanmugam had reportedly said one in five of those who carried drug amounts that attracted the death penalty are Malaysians.
“This is illegal, as each clemency petition must be considered upon its individual merits.
“We urge the government of Singapore to halt these potentially illegal and unconstitutional executions and impose a moratorium upon all executions pending a thorough review of all the clemency rejections,” he said.
Surendran also called on the government to urgently make necessary representations to Singapore on behalf of the four Malaysians facing imminent execution.
“The Malaysians form the largest group of foreign nationals now facing execution in Changi,” he said.
Surendran is also acting to save the life of another Malaysian inmate in Changi Prison – P Pannir Selvam, who recently received a last-minute reprieve.
Pannir had received an eleventh-hour stay of execution, only a day before he was scheduled to be hanged in Changi Prison on May 24.
This was after the court ruled that Pannir should be given ample time to obtain legal advice after he was informed of his execution date and the president’s rejection of his clemency petition only a week in advance.
Surendran is part of the legal team challenging Pannir’s clemency process and the Singaporean Attorney-General’s Chambers’ failure to issue a certificate of assistance that would have spared his life.