SINGAPORE denies claims of ‘barbaric execution methods’ and issue POFMA orders against those who highlighted and reported issue?

A few days ago, Lawyers For Liberty issued a statement highlighting shocking manner in which persons were hanged in Singapore – they also stated that they raised this issue with Singapore since November but did not get any response leading to the issuance of a media statement on 16/1/2020 …the media statement is copied below for your perusal..

Now Singapore refutes the allegations…and have invoked the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) and ordered the LFL and three parties that have shared the allegations – Singaporean activist Kirsten Han, The Online Citizen website and Yahoo Singapore – to correct the false statements….

MHA refutes Malaysia NGO’s claims against S’pore’s execution method, issues Pofma correction orders against parties

The Malaysia-based LFL said in a statement that the Singapore Government approved of the "unlawful methods" that are used to cover up an execution if the rope breaks during the execution.
The Malaysia-based LFL said in a statement that the Singapore Government approved of the “unlawful methods” that are used to cover up an execution if the rope breaks during the execution.PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has slammed Malaysia-based non-governmental organisation Lawyers for Liberty’s (LFL) allegations about Singapore’s execution method as “untrue, baseless and preposterous”.

It has also invoked the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) and ordered the LFL and three parties that have shared the allegations – Singaporean activist Kirsten Han, The Online Citizen website and Yahoo Singapore – to correct the false statements.

This is the fifth case where Pofma has been invoked since it came into effect on Oct 2 last year.

On Jan 16, LFL said in a statement that prison officers in Singapore were instructed to kick the back of the neck of a prisoner with great force to break it if the rope breaks during a hanging and that the Singapore Government approved of  “unlawful methods” that are used to cover up an execution if the rope breaks.

“These allegations are entirely unfounded,” MHA said on Wednesday (Jan 22).

Singapore executes its condemned prisoners by hanging.

The ministry said that all judicial executions in Singapore are carried out in strict compliance with the law.

“All judicial executions are conducted in the presence of the Superintendent of the Prison and a medical doctor, among others. The law also requires a coroner (who is a judicial officer of the State Courts) to conduct an inquiry within 24 hours of the execution to satisfy himself that the execution was carried out duly and properly,” MHA said.

It added: “For the record, the rope used for judicial executions has never broken before, and prison officers certainly do not receive any ‘special training to carry out the brutal execution method’ as alleged. Any acts such as those described in the LFL statement would have been thoroughly investigated and dealt with.”

The ministry said that the LFL has a history of publishing sensational and untrue stories to seek attention in the hope of getting Malaysian prisoners who have been convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Singapore off the death penalty.

“Those who traffic drugs in Singapore harm and destroy the lives of countless Singaporeans. These traffickers must be prepared to face the consequences of their actions,” MHA said.

In November 2019, convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Abd Helmi Ab Halim had his death sentence carried out after an unsuccessful petition to Singapore’s President for clemency.

In May 2019, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said that almost 30 per cent of drug traffickers caught in Singapore in 2018 were Malaysians, and nearly 30 per cent of the heroin seized, by weight, was brought in by Malaysians. He added that one in five traffickers who brought in drugs above the threshold that brings the death penalty was also a Malaysian.

On Wednesday, MHA also said that it has instructed the Pofma office to issue corrections against the LFL as well as three other parties: Ms Han’s Facebook post that shared LFL’s statement; The Online Citizen, which has an article that contained the falsehoods; and Yahoo Singapore’s Facebook post which shared an article that contained the falsehoods.

“They will be required to carry a correction notice alongside their posts or articles stating that their posts or articles contain falsehoods,” MHA said.

Ms Han said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that she had sent questions to the Singapore Prison Service about the claims made by LFL but did not receive a response. She appended the correction notice to her post on Wednesday afternoon, adding: “I originally shared this post because the allegations that were made by Lawyers for Liberty, concerning a process about which very little information is publicly available, were extremely serious and disturbing.”

She also raised concerns over how this affects the ability of journalists, activists and ordinary citizens to follow up on allegations. “In the interests of dealing with ‘fake news’, I hope that government and public agencies can be more responsive to queries from journalists and/or civil society groups when they are seeking information that can clarify matters,” she said.

Separately, The Online Citizen said it has filed an application to the minister to cancel the Correction Direction it received.

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty said that it will not comply with the correction notice and demanded that the notice be “unconditionally withdrawn with immediate effect”.

The group says it stands by its original statement, which is based on evidence from “former and current Singapore prison officers… with impeccable service records”. It added that it is “outrageous and unacceptable” for Singapore to issue such a notice to a Malaysian organisation. – Straits Times, 22/1/2020

 

Press Statement

Disclosure of the brutal & unlawful hanging methods in Changi prison – brutal kicks inflicted to snap prisoners’ necks

16 January 2020

 

In November last year, we had revealed to the public in this country that brutal and unlawful methods were being used to execute prisoners in Singapore’s notorious Changi prison. This was of importance here, as many Malaysians are on death row in Changi prison, mainly being convicted drug mules.

We had also written to the Singapore authorities and informed them that we are prepared to meet them and handover the evidence in our possession.

However, the Singapore government has met our disclosures with deafening silence. Significantly, they have also not denied our allegation of brutality in carrying out hangings, which has been widely reported.

In the circumstances, we are compelled to disclose some details of the brutal hanging method, in order that the ensuing public scrutiny will bring to an end these methods.

We received this information from a Singapore Prison Services (SPS) officer who had served at the execution chamber in Changi prison, and himself carried out hangings.

This officer is prepared to come forward and testify at the appropriate forum. His evidence follows below:

He and other prison officers were instructed to carry out the following brutal procedure whenever the rope breaks during a hanging, which happens from time to time.

a) The prison officer is instructed to pull the rope around the neck of the prisoner towards him.

b) Meanwhile, another prison officer will apply pressure by pulling the body in the opposite direction.

c) The first officer must then kick the back of the neck of the prisoner with great force in order to break it.

d) The officers are told to kick the back of the neck because that would be consistent with death by hanging.

e) The officers are told not to kick more than 2 times, so that there will be no tell-tale marks in case there is an autopsy.

f) Strict orders are also given not to divulge the above to other prison staff not involved in executions.

We have been informed that prison officers were given special training to carry out the above brutal execution method.

This execution method is unlawful as the mode of execution prescribed by law is hanging by the neck, and not execution by brutal kicking of the neck.

Every death row prisoner in Changi, including the Malaysians, are in danger of suffering this excruciating death, should the rope break during the hanging.

It is particularly disturbing that this is being done surreptitiously, with specific measures adopted to ensure that nothing incriminating is revealed during any subsequent autopsy. This is blatant deception and illegality by the Singapore authorities.

It is in flagrant breach of Article 9 of the Singapore Constitution, the effect of which is to prohibit cruel and unusual punishments.

This could not have been done without the knowledge and approval of the Home Minister and government. Quite clearly, the Republic of Singapore has been knowingly carrying out executions by methods prohibited by both Singapore law, as well as international law.

At this point, we cannot say how many Malaysians or other nationals have been executed in Changi prison by this horrendous method. Only the Singapore government has that information.

We call upon the Singapore Government to consider the following steps:

i) To immediately impose a moratorium on all executions in Singapore pending investigations or a Commission of Inquiry into this matter.

ii) To handover a copy of the findings to Malaysia, many of whose citizens have been executed in Changi or are facing execution.

iii) To reveal the number and identities of Malaysian prisoners who have been executed using this brutal method in Changi.

iv) To agree to compensate families for the unlawful execution of their loved ones.

We further call upon the Malaysian government to take urgent steps to protect the safety and basic rights of all Malaysian prisoners now on death row in Singapore.

Issued by,

N Surendran

Advisor

Lawyers for Liberty

Source: Lawyers For Liberty Website 

Rights group alleges barbaric, unlawful execution methods in Singapore

Surendran has demanded Singapore halt further executions while it addresses these allegations. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Surendran has demanded Singapore halt further executions while it addresses these allegations. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — Singaporean executors kick and pull on inmates condemned to death by hanging to effectively kill them, Lawyers for Liberty alleged today when warning that Malaysian convicts there were at risk of the cruel punishment.

The rights group representing Malaysians sentenced to die in Singapore further alleged that it has eye-witness testimony from a Singaporean prison official who was willing to testify to this in an “appropriate forum”.

LFL adviser N. Surendran said his group was compelled to release these allegations today after the republic ignored attempts to raise such matters with the country’s officials.

Among others, he said the witness informed LFL that Singapore made its prison officers simultaneously yank on the rope by which condemned inmates are hanged while pulling down on their bodies.

This was compounded by forcibly kicking the back of the inmates’ necks to simulate hanging injuries.

The method is purportedly to ensure the hanging results in a broken spinal cord that would effectively result in death, Surendran said in a statement today that further asserted that such methods were specially taught to Singapore’s prison officials.

“This execution method is unlawful as the mode of execution prescribed by law is hanging by the neck, and not execution by brutal kicking of the neck.

“Every death row prisoner in Changi, including the Malaysians, is in danger of suffering this excruciating death, should the rope break during the hanging,” Surendran said.

Surendran added that executors were also told not to kick more than twice in order to avoid suspicious markings on the condemned inmates’ bodies and ordered not to discuss the alleged methods.

Such techniques were deceptive, unlawful, and in clear violation of Singapore’s constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishments, he said.

The lawyer was also adamant that the alleged execution techniques were known to Singaporean officials including its home minister.

He clarified, however, that LFL did not know for certain how many Malaysians might have experienced such treatment when they were executed in Singapore.

The former Padang Serai MP then demanded Singapore halt further executions while it addresses these allegations and arranges to compensate the families of any who were killed in this alleged fashion.

“We further call upon the Malaysian government to take urgent steps to protect the safety and basic rights of all Malaysian prisoners now on death row in Singapore.”

LFL first alluded to these claims in November, after Singapore proceeded with the execution of Malaysian drug mule Abd Helmi Ab Halim for trafficking 16g of heroin.

Surendran and his group had represented Abd Helmi and clashed repeatedly with Singapore in their bid to prevent the execution.- Malay Mail, 16/1/220

Death penalty: How many countries still have it?(BBC)

Death penalty: How many countries still have it?

  • 14 October 2018
  • _103835894_chart-abolitionist_countries-yqfte-nc
Image copyright Getty Images

Claim: Some 170 States have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on its use.

Verdict: According to Amnesty International in 2017, 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

The UN Secretary General António Guterres marked the World Day Against the Death Penalty by praising the efforts of countries to end the practice.

He said “170 States have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on its use.”

A moratorium is an agreement to suspend a policy or action.

_103835896_executions_around_world_640-nc

So, is he right?

The UN Secretary General’s report on the death penalty presented to the Human Rights Council in September this year says that “some 170 States have abolished or introduced a moratorium on the death penalty either in law or in practice, or have suspended executions for more than 10 years.”

As the UN has 193 members, this implies that 23 states carried out at least one execution in the past decade.

The UN says these figures are compiled from information provided by member states as well as civil society.

However, Amnesty says that 142 countries have either abolished the death penalty in law or in practice and that in the past five years 33 countries have carried out at least one execution.

Amnesty collects its statistics using official figures, media reports and information passed on from individuals sentenced to death and their families and representatives.

Four countries were responsible for 84% of executions in 2017 (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran). That doesn’t include China, where the statistics are a state secret. Amnesty estimates that China carries out thousands of executions each year.

_103835895_executions_by_country-nc

Methods of execution in 2017 were beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting.

The human rights organisation recorded at least 2,591 death sentences in 53 countries in 2017. But in some cases the death sentences will be commuted, where countries are reluctant to enforce the punishment.

According to Amnesty there are:

  • 106 countries where use of the death penalty is not allowed by law
  • 7 countries which permit the death penalty only for serious crimes in exceptional circumstances, such as those committed during times of war
  • 29 countries which have death penalty laws but haven’t executed anyone for at least 10 years, and a policy or more formal commitment not to execute
  • 56 countries which retain death penalty laws and either carry out executions or the authorities have not made an official declaration not to execute

(Amnesty includes five non UN-member countries. Thailand included for an execution carried out in 2018).

The Malaysian government followed the secretary general’s comments with an announcement that it intends to abolish the death penalty.

About 1,200 people are thought to be on death row in Malaysia, where the punishment is given for offences including murder, drug trafficking and treason. The parliament will consider a bill at its next session.

If Malaysia does abolish the death penalty, it would follow Guinea and Mongolia, which ended the practice in 2017. The Gambian president Adama Barrow announced a suspension earlier this year. The Guardian reported that the death penalty was last used in Gambia in 2012.

In June, Burkina Faso’s parliament adopted a new penal code which abolishes the death penalty. At the end of 2017 there were 20 countries which have abolished capital punishment in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to Amnesty.

In total 23 people were executed in the US last year. Washington state became the 20th to ban the death penalty in October 2018. The state’s Supreme Court found that the punishment was applied in an “arbitrary and racially biased manner”.

The number of countries which have formally abolished the death penalty has been steadily increasing, from 48 in 1991 to 106 in 2017. In recent years the number of countries which carry out executions has also gradually declined.

Countries that carried out executions between 2013 and 2017:

Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Botswana, Chad, China, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand (2018), United Arab Emirates, USA, Vietnam and Yemen. (Due to ongoing conflicts in Libya and Syria, Amnesty International is not able to confirm that judicial executions were carried out in these countries).

The 21 countries that did not carry out an execution in those years despite not having abolished the death penalty:

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guyana, Jamaica, Lebanon, Lesotho, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Zimbabwe. – BBC, 14/10/2018

Japan hangs Chinese man in rare execution of foreigner

Japan hangs Chinese man in rare execution of foreigner

  • 26 December 2019
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Justice Minister Masako Mori: “It is an extremely cruel and brutal case”

Japan has hanged a Chinese man for the high-profile and brutal murder of a family of four, the first execution of a foreigner in 10 years.

The man, Wei Wei, carried out the murders in 2003 with two accomplices.

They fled to China, where one was executed in 2005 and the other sentenced to life in jail.

Japan has more than 100 prisoners on death row. Fifteen were executed last year, including 13 members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult.

Japan only started to disclose the names of executed inmates in 2007. Between then and the latest execution only one foreigner had been named – a Chinese man hanged in 2009.

Strangled or drowned

Justice Minister Masako Mori said she had signed off on the execution of Wei Wei “after careful consideration”.

“It is an extremely cruel and brutal case in which the happily living family members, including an eight-year-old and 11-year-old, were all murdered because of truly selfish reasons,” she said.

In Japan, death row inmates are not told of their impending execution until the day it is carried out.

Wei Wei, a former language student aged 40, had admitted carrying out the murders but denied playing the leading role.

He and his accomplices had tried to rob the home of businessman Shinjiro Matsumoto in the city of Fukuoka.

Mr Matsumoto was strangled, his two children strangled or smothered and his wife drowned in the bath.

Their bodies were weighed down and dumped in Hakata Bay, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

The Chinese man hanged in 2009 had killed three Chinese people he lived with in Tokyo.

The increase in executions in 2018 was the consequence of a Sarin nerve agent attack on the Tokyo underground system in 1995 by Aum Shinrikyo, an obscure religious group that believed the end of the world was coming.

Thirteen people died and at least 5,800 were injured in the attack. – BBC, 26/12/2019