Think Centre is disappointed that the Singapore government hanged two Africans, Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi and Okeke Nelson Malachy, despite pleas for clemency by Nigeria's president, the United Nations and human rights groups.
Think Centre is disappointed that Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi of Nigeria and Okele Nelson Malachy of South Africa were hanged at Changi Prison on Friday, 26 January 2007, despite pleas for clemency by Nigeria's president, the United Nations and human rights groups.
The eradication of the supply of the drugs is important but equally important is the alleviation of the social conditions that encourage would-be traffickers or addicts. The socially excluded young and poor are the most affected and drug addictions is also increasing among the young middle-class.
The government seek solutions to drug trafficking and crimes.
But what purposes does it serve to hang the "couriers" and "small fries." Touchi and Van were just small fries used as couriers. The real masterminds of drug smuggling are still hiding in the region and are still supplying. Who is going to stop and bring them to justice? The ASEAN governments including Singapore should allocate more resources in preventing drug addiction and to stop the operation of drug smuggling masterminds.
Humane Criminal Justice System
Any humane criminal justice system could not continue to justify the retention of the death penalty based on retribution.
The Singapore government continues to ignore the UN Special Rapporteurs recommendation of 1996. "The Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate his call on the Government of Singapore to change its Drug Act so as to bring it into line with international standards. The Special Rapporteur considers that the Misuse of Drug Act, which partially shifts the burden of proof to the accused, does not provide sufficient guarantees for the presumption of innocence and may lead to violations of the right to life when the crime of drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence."
25 January 2007, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston: "Singapore law making the death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking was inconsistent with international human rights standards, because it keeps judges from considering all of the factors relevant to determining whether a death sentence would be permissible in a capital case." "In the case of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, the Government of Singapore has failed to ensure respect for the relevant legal safeguards. Under the circumstances, the execution should not proceed."
In Singapore drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence and is inconsistent with the criteria of absolute necessity and proportionality. When a court wrongly sentences a person to death, the result is irreversible.
Think Centre Calls
Think Centre calls on the government, the members of parliament, to abandon the use of death penalty.
A sentence of life in prison for the most serious offenses would keep us just as safe.
The government could offer more help and guidance to troubled kids before they turn to drugs and crime. Instead of investing in vengeance, it ought to be investing wisely in humanity and human dignity.
Death penalty is a practice from the past like torture and slavery which must be rejected by all decent human beings. The death penalty is a inhumane, cruel and degrading punishment. The right to life is the most fundamental of all human rights.
Sources and Relevant Links:
Think Centre Death Penalty: Amara Tochi Iwuchukwu is to be hanged 23 Janaury 2007
This Day Online Singapore Ignores Nigerian President Obasanjo's Plea 24 January 2007
Sprinter LETTER FROM SINGAPORE PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG TO NIGERIAN PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO 25 January 2007
CNB EXECUTION OF CONVICTED DRUG TRAFFICKERS 26 January 2007
UN News Centre UN expert calls on Singapore not to hang Nigerian on drug charges, says breaches rights 26 January 2007
AFP Singapore hangs African drug traffickers 26 January 2007
Channel NewsAsia Nigerian drug importer hanged on Friday morning 26 January 2007
Associated Press Singapore Executes 2 Africans for Drugs 25 January 2007
BBC Singapore executes drug smugglers25 January 2006
Doha Time Nigerian to hang today in Singapore 26 January 2007
DPA Singapore hangs two Africans for drug trafficking 26 January 2007