In a landmark decision made on 14 November, Singapore’s High Court lifted the death sentence on Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian man, aged 25. After six years in death row, Yong instead received a life sentence and 15 strokes of the cane.
ADPAN, NGOs, lawyers and activists from around the world are celebrating the news that Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian man, who was arrested in 2007 aged 19, for possessing 47g of heroin and sentenced to death in 2009 under Singapore’s strict mandatory death penalty laws, has been spared the death penalty.
Yong’s lawyer and ADPAN member M. Ravi launched a series of appeals in the Courts appealing for Yong Vui Kong. This included challenging the constitutionality of Singapore’s mandatory death penalty laws. In 2011 all death sentences in Singapore were suspended whilst a review affecting the mandatory death penalty was carried out. In late 2012, Singapore’s Parliament decided that certain mandatory death penalty laws be changed, including the Misuse of Drugs Act allowing the courts to give discretion in imposing the death penalty in certain cases if they prove that they did not intend to cause death.
ADPAN remains concerned that Yong Vui Kong faces caning –a violation of the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, which could also amount to torture.
Following the court’s decision, M Ravi, said, “This is the happiest day of my client’s life. He feels intense gratitude towards all who have worked so hard to save him from being executed…for their commitment and dedication to saving his life”.
“Yong has spent six years facing the prospect of losing it after an unfair judicial process” said ADPAN Coordinator, Louise Vischer, “this is a significant ruling for the many who have supported Yong Vui Kong in lifting this death sentence and for others who have been sentenced under Singapore’s strict drugs laws”.
ADPAN has a membership in Singapore and across the region. ADPAN works for an end to the death penalty across Asia-Pacific.
ADPAN members in Singapore:
- Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)
- We Believe in Second Chances
- Think Centre
- Singaporeans for Democracy (SFD)