FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : 18 JULY 2014
The Singapore Working Group on the Death Penalty deeply regrets, and is gravely disappointed at the executions of two individuals that took place today, 18th of July 2014. Inmates Foong Chee Peng, 48, and Tang Hai Liang, 36, were hanged at dawn this morning. Both men were convicted of drug trafficking.
These two executions bring to an end the moratorium that has been in place since July 2011, when the government commenced an internal review of the mandatory death penalty laws. This review took place without any public consultation nor has it been made available for public scrutiny. Subsequently, the changes were passed by Parliament in the exact form proposed by the government in July 2012, despite various warnings about their potential problems.
We also wish to highlight that there is an ongoing application filed by another drug offender before the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act because it violates Article 12 of our Constitution. The hearing is fixed before the Court of Appeal on the 18th of August later this year.
Given the fact that the constitutional challenge to the amendments could have a potential bearing on the lawfulness of Foong and Tang’s executions, it was deeply unjust to have executed them before the constitutional challenge was decided.
The injustice is compounded by the fact that we had written to the President and the Minister of Home Affairs yesterday to highlight this situation and urged for an urgent stay of execution until our courts have decided on this constitutional challenge at the very least.
Finally, the executions are a regrettable step backwards for Singapore. The death penalty has not been proven to be a more useful deterrent against crime than alternative forms of punishment. Moreover, once carried out, miscarriages of justice cannot be remedied.
We therefore reiterate our calls for the government to impose a moratorium on all executions and move towards the abolition of capital punishment in Singapore.
We believe in Second Chances
Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign
Think Center Singapore
Below is an email sent by the Singapore Working Group on the Death Penalty to the President at 8.30 pm, Thursday, 17th of July 2014, urging the President to exercise his powers to stay the executions of the death row inmates:
We are a coalition of local non-governmental organizations that work closely with the families of death row inmates and advocate against capital punishment in Singapore.
We have been just informed from various sources that there are two death row inmates condemned to death arising from drug trafficking who will be executed tomorrow morning at 6am. We wish to highlight to your excellency that there is an application before the court (criminal motion 40/2014) that seeks to challenge the validity of section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act – that it violates Article 12 of the Constitution. The hearing is fixed before the Court of Appeal on 18th August at 10am.
In light of the above constitutional challenge which will have a bearing on the lawfulness of the impending executions tomorrow, we strongly urge your excellency to stay their executions pending the outcome of the above application, failing which the two executions scheduled will be deemed unlawful.
We would appreciate if you could respond to us, concerned citizens, on an urgent basis as we wait with anxiety for your confirmation that you will stay the execution.
1)We believe in second chances
2)Singapore Anti Death Penalty