Thursday, July 13, 2017

EU, Malaysian Bar and FIDH calls on Singapore not to execute Prabagaran

EU Local Statement on Mr Prabagaran Srivijayan death penalty case in Singapore

The European Union Delegation to Singapore issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission, and the Head of Mission of Norway:

The European Union (EU) calls on the Singapore authorities to halt the execution of Mr. Prabagaran Srivijayan, to commute his sentence to a non-capital sentence and to adopt a moratorium on all executions.

The EU holds a principled position against the death penalty and is opposed to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances. 

No compelling evidence exists to show that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to crime. 

Furthermore, any errors - inevitable in any legal system - are irreversible. 

The EU will continue in its pursuit on the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. - Delegation of the European Union to Singapore Website

Uphold the Right to Life and Stay the Execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan
The Malaysian Bar is extremely troubled over the reports of the imminent execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan in Singapore.  The 29-year old Malaysian citizen was convicted of drug trafficking, and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty on 22 July 2012. His family was recently informed by the authorities that he is scheduled to be hanged to death at Changi Prison Complex on 14 July 2017.
The Malaysian Bar appeals to the Government of Singapore for clemency, to stay the execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan and commute his death sentence to one of life imprisonment. 
The Malaysian Bar’s position is that every individual has an inherent right to life.  The right to life is absolute, universal and inalienable, and must be held inviolate, regardless of the crime that may have been committed. We recall the immortal words of the late Justice Ishmael Mohamed, the former Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa:
Death is different.  The dignity of all of us, in a caring civilisation, must not be compromised by the act of repeating, albeit for a wholly different objective, what we find to be so repugnant in the conduct of the offender in the first place.
George Varughese
Malaysian Bar 
12 July 2017
FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights Press release 

Singapore: Halt the execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan 

Paris, 12 July 2017: Singaporean authorities must halt the execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan, FIDH said today. Prabagaran, a 29-year-old Malaysian national, is scheduled to be executed by hanging on 14 July 2017. 
“Singapore must immediately halt the execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan and put an end to all executions in the country. It is disturbing that Singapore continues to impose mandatory death sentences for drug-related crimes, which do not meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’ under international law,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos. 
On 22 September 2014, Singapore’s High Court imposed a mandatory death sentence on Prabagaran for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, after he was found in possession of 22.24 grams of heroin on 12 April 2012.
On 2 October 2015, the Court of Appeal dismissed Prabagaran’s appeal against his conviction and sentence. Singaporean authorities have never allowed Prabagaran’s attorneys, N Surendran and Latheefa Koya, who were hired by Prabagaran’s mother in January 2017, to visit him in Changi Prison.
Authorities did not provide any reason for this denial. The denial of Prabagaran to meet with his legal representatives falls short of international fair trial standards.
According to General Comment No. 32 concerning Article 14(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), “in cases involving capital punishment, it is axiomatic that the accused must be effectively assisted by a lawyer at all stages of the proceedings.” 
Prabagaran has spent more than five years in prison, including almost three years awaiting execution. 
International law reserves the death penalty for the “most serious crimes,” a threshold that international jurisprudence has repeatedly stated drug-related offenses do not meet. 
If Prabagaran is hanged, it will be the fourth documented execution in Singapore since the beginning of the year. On 17 March 2017, Singaporean authorities executed an unknown individual. On 21 April 2017 and 19 May 2017, Singaporean authorities executed Jeffrey Marquez Abineno, 52, and Muhammad Ridzuan, 31, respectively, for drug trafficking.
While the government publishes annual statistics on the total number of executions, it consistently fails to make public announcements concerning upcoming hangings and does not reveal the number of prisoners on death row. 
FIDH, a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), reiterates its strong opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances.
FIDH calls on the Singaporean government to reinstate the moratorium on executions that was lifted in July 2014, and to make progress towards the abolition of capital punishment for all crimes.

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