SINGAPORE: Urgent Twitter Action for Yong Vui Kong

Yong Vui Kong was sentenced to death for possession of 47g of heroin in 2007. He lost his final appeal on 4 April 2012. Unless he is granted clemency by the President of Singapore, following advice from the Cabinet, he is likely to be executed in the coming weeks. It is imperative that we act quickly to try and save Yong’s life. Yong’s case has made a huge impact on the debate on the death penalty in both Singapore and Malaysia. We ask that everyone joins us in the big push at this vital time.

The Minister of Law (who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs) Mr. K. Shanmugam said on 9 May 2010;

“Yong Vui Kong is young. But if we say ‘We let you go’, what is the signal we are sending?”

We need to send Mr. Shanmugam a signal of our own. We need to bombard the Twitter account (primarily with direct messages but also mentions) of the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (@MFAsg) with the following message;

‘@MFAsg Mr K Shanmugam, give Yong Vui Kong a second chance to live! #deathpenalty #singapore #yongvuikong’

We ask that you tweet this message from 12am GMT on 9 May for a 24hr period. Please distribute as widely as possible.

For more information on Yong Vui Kong see case sheet at;

https://adpandotnet.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/adpan-appeal-case-singapore-corrected-final.pdf

Contact Rob Godden (rgodden@amnesty.org) with inquiries and for assistance. Please follow @ADPANetwork (the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network on Twitter).

BACKGROUND:

YONG VUI KONG (Yong), a Malaysian man, was arrested in Singapore in 2007, aged 19, for possessing 47g of heroin. Yong had dropped out of school early and had turned to petty crime as a way of earning money. Under Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act, anyone caught with more than 15g of heroin is presumed to be guilty of drug trafficking, for which the death penalty is mandatory. As Yong was not able to counter this presumption, the High Court convicted him in 2008 and he was sentenced to death. The court had no discretion to consider mitigating circumstances or pass a lesser sentence. Lawyers filed an appeal against his conviction but Yong withdrew it in April 2009, saying that he had embraced Buddhism and wanted to acknowledge his crime.

Yong petitioned Singapore’s president for clemency on the basis of his youth but this was rejected in November 2009. Yong’s lawyer, M. Ravi, has appealed against Yong’s sentence by challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking and seeking judicial review of the clemency process. But in May 2010, the Court of Appeal rejected the constitutional challenge on the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking. This was the third time it had rejected such a challenge since 1980. The Court ruled that the right to life in the Singapore Constitution did not imply a ban on inhuman punishment, and by extension, on mandatory death sentences. It rejected a rule of customary international law that prohibits mandatory death sentences as an inhuman punishment or a violation of the right to life. M. Ravi’s application for judicial review of the clemency process argued that the power to grant pardon had been prejudiced by comments about the case made by the Law Minister, thereby undermining accepted principles of procedural fairness. This was dismissed by the High Court in August 2010. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against the High Court’s decision in April 2011, clearing the way for Yong’s execution. The President can only exercise clemency following advice from the Cabinet and thus has little discretion in granting pardons. Clemency for a sentence of execution in Singapore has reportedly been granted only six times since independence in 1965.

 

One thought on “SINGAPORE: Urgent Twitter Action for Yong Vui Kong

  • Singapore – you are better than this. The signal you need to send is one of human rights respecting justice. The Death Penalty is state sanctioned murder.

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