According to Mr Shanmugam, two Malay prisoners were hanged last Friday, 8 April 2005 at 6 a.m. There are another eight prisoners waiting to be hanged.
Think Centre Calls for a moratorium on Death Penalty
Think Centre calls on the government to declare a moratorium on death sentences. And urge the government to plan for gradual abolition of the death penalty and to seek alternatives to the death penalty. The death penalty is a "cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment." Think Centre calls to remove the mandatory capital punishment for simple possession of drugs. The mandatory death sentence must be removed. The laws have to be changed to permit judicial discretion and fairness for drug cases.
Lawyer Mr M Ravi, who is acting for Mr Shanmugam s/o Murugesu, reports that the prisoner is extremely happy to find out that a campaign is going on against death penalty. Mr Shanmugam was convicted for attempting to bring cannabis into Singapore in 2003 and will be hanged in a few weeks for now.
Mr Shanmugam informs that two Malay prisoners were hanged last Friday, 8 April 2005 at 6 a.m. There are another eight prisoners waiting to be hanged.
Information about the date of hanging is not made known even to the families of the prisoners. Family members are informed after the execution is carried out and told to collect the body by noon that day. Otherwise, the corpse would be cremated.
Mr Shanmugam told his lawyer that he is prepared to die if not for his helpless and ailing mother who might get a stroke (she was recently hospitalized) or even lose her life from all the trauma surrounding her son's impending death. Mr Shanmugam says that he is afraid that the pressure on his mother will be too much for her to bear as he was especially close to her and was her only source of support as she was divorced from her husband.
Mr Shanmugam also has twin 14-year-old sons, Gopalan and Krishnan. He worries that their future would be jeopardized. Both the boys were out at Centrepoint Shopping Centre, handing out leaflets and pleading with passers-by to help them appeal to President Nathan to grant their father a pardon. Their mother left them when they were young. With the execution of their father, they will be left in the hands of their increasingly frail grandmother.
Mr Shanmugam says he regrets his mistake and asks why he is not given the opportunity to rehabilitate. He is remorseful about his deed and asks the State not to kill him in cold-blood.
He says he has cooperated fully with the police and supplied information about the person, a Mr Mok from Johor Baru, who had asked him to bring the drugs into Singapore. Mr Shanmugamhad even given contact details and a sketch of Mr Mok but the police have not shown interest in pursuing the real culprit and the ultimate mastermind.
The death-row inmate asks President Nathan to recognise his contribution to Singapore; he had won a jet ski competition in the US and had served 8 years in the army.
As bleak as his own situation is, however, Mr Shanmugam is still able to think about others in the same plight. He pleads with fellow Singaporeans and the international community to stop all these hangings in secrecy. No one, he adds, knows the grief of these families and the dependents of those who are executed.
"Please appeal to the President on my behalf," Mr Shanmugam pleads to all Singaporeans.
There is not much time left. Mr Shanmugam will be executed in a couple of weeks.
Please appeal to President S R Nathan to commute death penalty to imprisonment.
Sources and Relevant Links:
Think Centre URGENT APPEAL: SAVE THE LIFE OF SHANMUGAM MURUGESU
The Optical A death-row Man's Plea
The optical Amnesty International Spokesman Banned from Speaking in S'pore AP, 15 Apr 2005