Saturday, December 05, 2009

Singapore, stop the execution of the 21 year old Malaysian


4th December 2009
Amnesty International urges the President of Singapore S. R. Nathan to reconsider Yong Vui Kong’s clemency petition and commute his mandatory death sentence immediately. Yong Vui Kong, a 21 year old, is scheduled to be hanged on 11 December 2009.
The death penalty is prescribed in Singapore for a wide range of offences. However in recent years, it is only known to have been imposed for drug trafficking, murder and firearms offences, all of which carry a mandatory death sentence.
A mandatory death sentence imposes the ultimate cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment without any possibility of taking into account the circumstances of the person charged, or the circumstances around the particular offence.  The court is not given discretion to sentence the person convicted to an alternative punishment. 
Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian citizen, was arrested in June 2007 by officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau. He was charged with trafficking 42.27 grams of heroin and, as provided by the Misuse of Drugs Act, automatically received a mandatory death sentence in January 2009.
International human rights standards prohibit mandatory death sentencing even for the most serious crimes on the grounds that it constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life and a violation of the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Article 9(1) of the Singaporean Constitution states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law”.
A constitutional appeal challenging the mandatory imposition of a death sentence on Yong Vui Kong, as provided for in the Misuse of Drugs Act, is due to be considered on 8 December by the Court of Appeals. As such, his case would be referred back to the trial judge for reconsideration. On 1 December the President of Singapore rejected Yong Vui Kong’s petition for clemency. The Court of Appeals has already rejected an earlier appeal against his death sentence in November. Yong Vui Kong received a stay of execution from the Singapore Court of Appeals on 3 December.
Amnesty International calls on the President of Singapore S.R. Nathan to commute all death sentences which have been imposed, and immediately introduce a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
Click HERE to access Amnesty Int's Urgent Appeal on Yong's Latest Appeal for Clemency

Yong Vui Kong received a stay of execution on 3 December, but is now scheduled for execution on 11 December. His appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeals on 8 December.

Yong Vui Kong's lawyer has appealed on the grounds that the mandatory death sentence for drug-trafficking, which is set out in the Misuse of Drugs Act, is unconstitutional, and therefore his case should be referred back to the trial judge for "reconsideration."

The appeal was due to be heard by a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals on 2 December, but only one judge was present, so the court had to grant a stay of execution. The court, which rejected an earlier appeal against Yong Vui Kong's death sentence, is now due to hear his latest appeal on 8 December.
The President of Singapore rejected Yong Vui Kong's petition for clemency on 1 December.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Mandarin or your own language:
  • Urging the president to reconsider Yong Vui Kong's clemency petition and commute his death sentence;
  • Expressing concern that because the death penalty is mandatory for drug-trafficking offences, the court that sentenced Yong Vui Kong to death had no discretion to sentence him to an alternative punishment;
  • Calling on the president to introduce a moratorium on executions, with a view to complete abolition of the death penalty.
His Excellency SR Nathan
Office of the President
Istana, Orchard Road
Singapore 0922

Fax: +65 6735 3135
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
The Straits Times
1000 Toa Payoh North
News Centre,
Singapore 318994

Fax: +65 6319 8282
Email: :
H.E. T Jasudasen High Commissioner
209, Jalan Tun Razak 50400 Kuala Lumpur
E- mail :
Fax : 603-2161 6343/2163 4875

Additional Information
The authorities in Singapore do not release any information about the use of the death penalty in the country. At least one person is known to have been hanged so far in 2009, and at least three sentenced to death; in 2008, at least one person was hanged and five sentenced to death. The true figures are likely to be higher. The government has always maintained that the death penalty is not a human rights issue, and consistently lobbied other nations against the abolition of the death penalty.

All capital cases are tried by the High Court; convicted prisoners can appeal, and if they are unsuccessful they can apply to the president for clemency. President Nathan, who has been in power since 1999, is not known to have granted clemency to any condemned prisoner.