In a rare and significant development, Singapore is preparing to carry out its first execution of a woman in almost two decades, according to a report by AFP. The country is set to hang two drug convicts this week, a decision that has sparked outcry from human rights groups, urging for a halt to the impending executions.
The Transformative Justice Collective (TJC), a local rights organization, disclosed that a 56-year-old man, convicted of trafficking 50 grams of heroin, is scheduled for execution at Changi Prison on Wednesday. The following day, 45-year-old Saridewi Djamani, who received a death sentence in 2018 for trafficking around 30 grams of heroin, is also slated to face the gallows.
If the execution is carried out as planned, it would be the first instance of Singapore executing a woman since 2004 when a 36-year-old hairdresser, Yen May Woen, was hanged for drug trafficking, as per TJC activist Kokila Annamalai’s statement to AFP.
Amnesty International, a prominent human rights watchdog, has called on Singapore to reconsider the executions. The organization’s death penalty expert, Chiara Sangiorgio, denounced Singaporean authorities for pursuing further executions under the guise of drug control, calling it “unconscionable.” She pointed out the lack of evidence supporting the death penalty’s efficacy in deterring drug-related crimes, while noting the growing global trend towards abolishing capital punishment and adopting drug policy reforms.
Despite international pressure, Singapore remains steadfast in its belief that the death penalty serves as a deterrent against serious crimes. TJC confirmed that both prisoners facing execution are Singaporean nationals, and their families have already been notified of the scheduled dates.
Singapore’s capital punishment laws extend to certain crimes, including murder and specific forms of kidnapping. Furthermore, the country boasts some of the world’s strictest anti-drug laws, where trafficking over 500 grams of cannabis or 15 grams of heroin can lead to the death penalty.
Since resuming executions after a two-year pause during the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore has hanged at least 13 individuals. As the global conversation surrounding the death penalty and drug policies intensifies, these impending executions have ignited significant controversy and discussions about human rights and justice.