Reflection on the 11th World Day against Death Penalty

Posted by Think Centre under Breaking News on 19 October 2013

We urge the government to strongly re-consider the total abolition of the death penalty, and to institute a review every 20 years for life imprisonment cases, so as to bring us in line with more developed and progressive nation.

Reflection on the 11th
World Day against Death Penalty

10th October marks the World Day against the death penalty and this year's 11th commemoration is especially important to Singapore. In July 2013, two men, convicted of murder and sentenced to death, had their cases re-sentenced to life imprisonment. This was due to changes in legislation, which gave judges the discretion to impose life imprisonment instead of the death penalty for murder.

Such a development represents change in Singapore's Penal Code that was once thought impossible. The mandatory death penalty was always upheld as a strong instrument of deterrence for crimes thought to exact the most devastating toll on its population. These crimes included murder, kidnapping, as well as serious drug and arms offences.

In the past, once a person has been convicted of any of these offenses, they were automatically sentenced to death. No number of mitigating factors could lessen the punishment. But today, the trend is broken and that it happened after a moratorium that started in July 2011 gives us hope that the road to abolition might not be quite as unthinkable as it once was.

The government has also accepted two recommendations proposed by the 2011 Universal Periodic Review by the UN. The first is to modify its legislation in such a way as to shift the burden of proof from the defendant to the prosecution, and secondly, to make available statistics and other factual information on the use of the death penalty in Singapore.

Acceptance of these proposals suggests that the government has acknowledged the need for these reforms and we are encouraged to continue our advocacy for the complete abolition of the death penalty as a result.

To this end, we organized a forum titled "Public Consultation: Proposed Changes to the Mandatory Death Penalty" on 27 August 2012, together with the National Solidarity Party, where we highlighted the need for more public debates, dialogues and discussions on the use of the death penalty. In November 2012, TC also shared its position paper on the changes to the mandatory death penalty.

Today, we reiterate our position with regard to the continuing use of the death penalty as an affront to humanity and our rights it is a punishment most cruel, inhuman and degrading.

We urge the government to strongly re-consider the total abolition of the death penalty, and to institute a review every 20 years for life imprisonment cases, so as to bring us in line with more developed and progressive nation.

Think Centre

Sources and Relevant Links:

5th World Congress Against the Death Penalty
Think Centre display goes to the 5th Congress Against the Death Penalty held in Madrid

10 April 2013 Death sentences and executions in 2012 The 2012 figures on the use of the death penalty confirm that the overall trend globally is towards abolition: only one in 10 countries worldwide carried out death sentences. However, 2012 also saw setbacks: the resumption of executions especially in Gambia, India, Japan and Pakistan, as well as the alarming rise in reported executions in Iraq compared with 2011, are of grave concern.

15 October 2012 Singapore Working Group on Death Penalty World Day Against the Death Penalty statement 10th World Day Against the Death Penalty


Show some love,



Back to Previous Page