We the undersigned human rights organisations, and concerned human rights defenders condemn the imminent executions of Kho Jabing in Singapore and at least 15 individuals – which apparently includes 4 Chinese nationals, 2 Nigerians, 2 Zimbabweans, 1 Senegalese, 1 Pakistani and 5 Indonesian nationals – in Indonesia. We call on the authorities of the two countries to halt the impending executions.
On 12 May 2016, the family of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national on death row in Singapore, received a letter from the Singapore Prisons informing them that Kho Jabing will be executed on 20 May 2016. Kho Jabing was convicted of murder in 2011. Of particular concern is the fact that there was a lack of unanimity in sentencing Kho Jabing to death, which demonstrates that reasonable doubt exists as to whether Kho Jabing deserved the death penalty.
As regards the imminent executions that will be taking place in Indonesia, Indonesia would contravene her own international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right by executing these individuals.
The Association of South East Asian Nations Member States (“ASEAN”), including Singapore and Indonesia, have continuously emphasized the importance of the rule of law and the protection of rights. The death penalty therefore stands out as an aberration.
In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its latest resolutions calling on all States to adopt a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view towards abolition. A record number of 117 Member States supported the Resolution. Regrettably, Indonesia abstained and Singapore voted against the Resolution. The ASEAN Member States must use the opportunity presented by this Resolution to align themselves with the global movement towards abolition.
Singapore has recently undergone its second Universal Periodic Review in January 2016. The continued use of the death penalty was one of the key highlights of the review, with Singapore receiving over 30 recommendations related to the death penalty, including recommendations to abolish the death penalty.
In 2015, Indonesia, a United Nations Human Rights Council Member until 2017, executed 14 individuals convicted of drug-related offences amid strong international opposition. The imminent executions would further damage Indonesia’s human rights record and erode her standing in the international community.
The death penalty has no place in the 21st Century. Not only is there a real possibility of wrongful executions, it deprives inmates of their life and dignity, and creates new classes of victims. We strongly urge the governments of Singapore and Indonesia to halt the upcoming executions, immediately impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and take meaningful steps towards its eventual abolition.
List of Signatories:
Anti-Death Penalty Network Asia (ADPAN)
Center for Prisoner’s Rights Japan (CPR)
Community Action Network (CAN, Singapore)
Free Community Church (Singapore)
Function 8 (Singapore)
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Journey of Hope
Legal Aid Community (LBH Masyarakat, Indonesia)
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights (MVFHR)
Pusat Studi Hukum dan Kebijakan Indonesia (The Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies)
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP)
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS, Indonesia)
The Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK, Indonesia)
The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR, Indonesia)
The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy of Indonesia (ELSAM)
The National Human Rights Society, Malaysia (HAKAM)
Think Centre Singapore
We Believe in Second Chances (WBSC, Singapore)
Priscilla Chia, We Believe in Second Chances (Singapore)
Bernhard Ruben, The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy of Indonesia (Indonesia)
Puri Kencana,The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS, Indonesia)