Death Penalty: Amara Tochi Iwuchukwu is to be hanged

Posted by Sinapan Samydorai under Breaking News on 23 January 2007

Think Centre is disappointed that Amara Tochi Iwuchukwu will be hanged by the Singapore government at Changi prison on Friday 26 January 2007. The youth will be 'killed" by the state of Singapore.

Singapore Ignores Nigerian President Obasanjo's Plea

Tochi lost his appeal against a mandatory death sentence at the Court of Appeal on 16 March 2006, and the President rejected the clemency appeal. Okele Nelson Malachy, who was convicted with Touchi, has not yet had a date set for his execution.

The Nigerian Civil Liberties Organization has verified that based on an official letter sent by the Singapore prison department to Touchi's family - the date for execution is 26 January 2007.

Judge Kan Ting Chiu wrote in his judgment [2005] paragraph 42 of SGHC 233:"There was no direct evidence that he knew the capsules contained diamorphine. There was nothing to suggest that Smith had told him they contained diamorphine, or that he had found that out of his own."

In this case, Touchi seems to be an innocent person who was not aware he was carrying drugs. A young, first time offender, arrested at 18 years,- why the death penalty? Why hang Touchi??

Background Information

In Singapore, "the law presumes that a person caught in possession of prohibited drugs knows that he is in possession of such drugs, with the burden of rebutting that presumption on the person charged."

The mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking means judges could not use their discretion on a case by case basis to provide appropriate punishments. When a court sentences a person to death, the result is irreversible. The mandatory death sentence for "simple possession of drugs" is inconsistent with the criteria of absolute necessity and proportionality.

The government of Singapore can save the life of all those on the death-row. A sentence of life in prison for the most serious offenses would keep us as safe.

Think Centre Calls

Think Centre is disappointed that Amara Tochi Iwuchukwu will be hanged by the Singapore government at Changi prison on Friday 26 January 2007. The young man will be 'killed" by the state of Singapore.

Think Centre is consciences that the death penalty is a 'cruel, inhumane and a degrading" punishment, and it should not be applied in any circumstances. Think Centre has been calling for a moratorium on death penalty and to commute all death sentences to imprisonment.

Think Centre calls on the Singapore government to remove the mandatory capital punishment for simple possession of drugs. The mandatory death sentence must be removed for all crimes.

Think Centre urges the Singapore government to plan for gradual abolition of the death penalty and to seek alternatives to the death penalty. Any humane criminal justice system could not continue to justify the retention of the death penalty based on retribution. More importance should be given to rehabilitation and deterrence.

Sources and Relevant Links:

This Day Online Singapore Ignores Nigerian President Obasanjo's Plea

Think Centre Two Africans, Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi and Okele Nelson Malachy, sentenced to death 11 August 2005

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION Singapore: Two Africans sentenced to death for drug offense8 August 2005

Think Centre Campaign Against Death Penalty Continues 06 December 2005

Think Centre Think Centre Calls for a moratorium on Death Penalty 19 October 2003

AP Singapore to hang Nigerian drug trafficker after rejecting clemency appeal 18 Jan 2007

Yawning Bread The case of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi September 2006

SADPC SADPC: Pending Hanging of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in Singapore

AI Singapore: Further information on Death penalty19 January 2007

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