The Spokesperson for UN human rights office OHCHR, on Tuesday urged the Government of Singapore to “urgently reconsider” carrying out the execution of a man convicted for allegedly using his phone to coordinate the trafficking of cannabis.
OHCHR’s Ravina Shamdasani was briefing journalists in Geneva, and said that reports had emerged from Singapore that it was “poised to conduct a further execution” by hanging, of Tagaraju Suppia – which would be the 12th since March last year.
“We have concerns around due process and respect for fair trial guarantees. The UN human rights office calls on the authorities not to proceed with his execution”, she said.
Death penalty and human rights
Ms. Shamdasani condemned the use of the death penalty and said it should only be reserved for the “most serious crimes,” and indicated that executions are not an appropriate sentence for those found guilty of drug trafficking.
The death penalty for drug offences “is incompatible with international norms and standards. Countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty may only impose it for the “most serious crimes”, which is interpreted as crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing,” she said.
Calling on Singapore authorities
She called for greater accountability from the Singapore Government, saying the issue of executions for drug-related offences had been raised many times.
She noted that there was ongoing dialogue, and it was hoped that this time, the Government would heed the calls, and stop the execution.
She said the death penalty was still being used in a small number of countries, “largely because of the myth that it deters crime. Increasing evidence, however, shows it is ineffective as a deterrent.
“We call on the Singapore Government to adopt a formal moratorium on executions for drug-related offences and to ensure the right to a fair trial for all defendants in line with its international obligations.”