ADPAN, ADPAN Members and many others have struggled hard to save Kho Jabing, a migrant worker from Sarawak/Malaysia from being hanged. Despite several applications to court at the eleventh hour, Kho Jabing was sadly hanged to death at about 3.30pm Friday(20/5/2016)
Below are some of the media statements and reports concerning Kho Jabing.. Below, we see the statements from Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) , Amnesty International (Malaysia), MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture), Think Centre, SUARAM that were issued on 20/5/2016 and 19/5/2016.. There were a lot media statements issued… we will try to capture as many of these statements in the ADPAN blog..
20 May 2016
Justice hurried, is justice denied
The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) strongly condemns the execution of Kho Jabing.
His notice of appeal was filed at 11pm on 19 May and at midnight, his legal team received the letter from the court informing them that the hearing would take place at 9am the next morning. This gave them insufficient time to adequately prepare legal submissions to deal with the complexities of the issues that lay before the court, i.e., the Constitutional arguments raised.
The application was heard despite repeated adjournment requests, which were turned down. The matter was heard for 3 hours, and dismissed at about 12.30pm. In our opinion, more time should have been granted so that Mr Alfred Dodwell, Jabing’s new legal counsel, could build a stronger case as to why his arguments deserve a day of hearing in court. With this, we believe that justice hurried, is justice buried.
Furthermore, Mr Alfred Dodwell, the legal counsel representing Jabing, asked for advance notification of the execution to be given so as to allow the family to spend more time for the family to be with him. Both the prosecution counsel and the judges had no objections. Therefore, we were utterly shocked to hear the news that he was executed a mere 3 hours after the hearing at 1530hrs on the afternoon of 20 May. We understand that this is unprecedented as accused persons are usually executed at dawn on Friday, by convention. We were also saddened by the fact that the family managed to spend their last moments with him only through a televisit.
We would like to reiterate that we do not condone whatever he had done and have no intentions to minimise the hurt that his actions had caused the family of his victim Cao Ruyin. However, we have always held the view that capital punishment is the most premeditated form of murder where every step towards the execution has been carefully planned and calculated with the purpose to end the life of a person. Therefore we do not think that an enlightened and progressive society should utilise an act that it holds in contempt, that is, murder, by seeking justice through state sponsored murder.
20 May 2016
Singapore: Amnesty International Deplores Execution of Kho Jabing
Amnesty International strongly condemns the sudden execution of Kho Jabing, undertaken with shameful haste today. The rushed execution, that occurred mere hours after his final appeal was rejected, marked a cruel and inhuman end to Kho Jabing’s life after a six year legal battle in the courts.
Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national, was executed at 3.30pm on 20 May 2016. Kho Jabing and a co-defendant were convicted of murder on 30 July 2010 and both were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty. However, after the 2012 review of the mandatory death penalty laws, on 14 August 2013, the High Court found the murder to be non-intentional and resentenced Kho Jabing to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane. On 14 January 2015, the Court of Appeal re-imposed the death penalty on Kho Jabing in a three-to-two split decision.
An appeal admitted on 3 November 2015, three days before his scheduled execution, was dismissed on 5 April 2016. Another last minute application by his lawyers that was granted on 19 May 2016, resulted in a temporary stay of execution. On the morning of 20 May 2016, Kho Jabing appeared in Court, hoping for a chance of reprieve. However, he was executed not long after this appeal was dismissed.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime. The taking of another’s life by execution is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – and the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated as long as the death penalty is kept on the law books. Such practices violate the right to life, a fundamental right of every human being. Furthermore, under international law and standards the use of the death penalty must be restricted to the “most serious crimes” which has been interpreted to mean intentional killing.
In this instance, Amnesty International also has strong concerns around the basis on which the death sentence of Kho Jabing was re-imposed, after a split decision in the courts. In modern day Singapore, the answer to crime does not lie within
the hangman’s noose. Moreover, there is no evidence that the death penalty is more of a deterrent to crime than life imprisonment.
The execution of Kho Jabing marks a huge step backwards for Singapore which has reduced the implementation of the death penalty in recent years. Following the official moratorium on executions established in Singapore from 2012 to 2013, at least 13 people have had their death sentences reviewed and eventually commuted and new sentencing discretion has resulted in several individuals being spared the gallows.
We urge the authorities of Singapore to immediately halt all executions and commute all death sentences, as first steps towards the full abolition of the death penalty.
On the Execution of Kho Jabing
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemns the execution of Kho Jabing by the Government of Singapore on the 20th May 2016.
Despite the unanswered concerns regarding the impartiality of the appeal proceeding, the Government of Singapore have refused to answer the public plea for clemency and unconscionably carried out the sentence at 3.30PM after the dismissal of Kho Jabing’s appeal on the morning of 20th May 2016.
The concerns that Kho Jabing’s right to fair trial was violated was affirmed when Justice of Appeal, Andrew Phang failed to recuse himself and sat as part of the coram of judges who heard his motion on the 19th May 2016. SUARAM would like to reiterate the importance of an impartial tribunal especially in cases involving the use of capital punishment and remind the Government of Singapore the importance of the notion that justice need not only be done, but seen to be done. The failure to ensure justice had been done in this case would forevermore tarnish Singapore’s ability to provide a fair trial for those seeking justice in its legal system.
Further, the doubt as to whether Kho Jabing the prosecution had adequately proved the necessary mens rea for Kho Jabing’s act to tantamount to murder expressed by some of the presiding judges during the trial should have been taken into account during the sentencing. Despite the existing doubts, the death sentence was still imposed on Kho Jabing. The failure to account for this clearly violates the recognized international norms where capital punishment can only be imposed when the crime meets the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’.
In light of these concerns, the refusal to provide for a stay of execution and the apathy shown by Government of Singapore in regards to the plea for clemency by the family and members of the public can only be described as callous and unconscionable to say the least.
The death penalty does not provide justice and in this case it has caused a great injustice to the family of the deceased. This execution also marks Singapore departure from the norms of developed states where the use of capital punishment has been gradually phased out. The insistence that capital punishment remain a facet of its criminal justice system clearly show its disinclination to join the rank of developed country in regards to its recognition of human rights. SUARAM reiterate our stance that the use of capital punishment must be abolished and call upon governments which still endorses the use of capital punishment to re-examine the use of capital punishment and instate a moratorium on it immediately!
Capital Punishment: Singapore’s blatant disregard for the right to life
Media Statement – 19/5/2016
MADPET CONCERNED ABOUT THE UNFAIRNESS OF THE HEARING OF APPLICATION BY KHO JABING CHALLENGING THE VALIDITY OF A COURT OF APPEAL DECISION BECAUSE JA PHANG WAS ON THAT CORAM.
STAY THE EXECUTION OF KHO JABING – HAVE ANOTHER COURT OF APPEAL HEAR THE APPEAL ON SENTENCING
MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) was appalled by the fact that it was reported in the media that Andrew Phang Boon Leong JA was in the coram on Thursday(19/5/2015) that heard the motion that was, amongst others, about the same Andrew Phang ‘s presence in the coram of the re-sentencing Court of Appeal, where it was alleged that he should not have been in that Court of Appeal given the fact that he had previously sat on the coram of the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal on conviction in 2011.
Channel News Asia, in their report stated that, ‘Kho’s last-minute motion ahead of his imminent execution was heard before five judges sitting in the Court of Appeal – including JA Phang, who disputed Kho’s claims of biasness.’(Channel News Asia, 19/5/2016).
Allegedly, Kho’s lawyers’ basis for the application was that ‘…JA Phang should not have presided over Kho’s appeal on re-sentencing due to a possible conflict of interest. He added the court’s decision “might have been tainted with apparent biasness”…’.
MADPET is of the view that in such an application, it would not have been proper for JA Phang himself to be part of the coram. It can easily give rise to a situation that the affected judge may be pre-occupied in demonstrating that he did no wrong – hence forgetting to be simply the independent and impartial judge hearing the motion/application as it should be.
The news report also allegedly indicated that JA Phang, was not merely in Thursday’s application’s coram, but was also played an active role trying to justify that there was nothing wrong in his being in the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal from re-sentencing High Court. If so, would that now raise doubts about the fairness of that hearing on Thursday itself?
It was reported that’ JA Phang said considering Kho’s conviction and sentence were part and parcel of the court’s work. “Conviction and sentence are inextricable parts of a whole. We cannot divorce them,” he said.’
MADPET’s view is that such an argument that was allegedly advanced by JA Phang may apply for any other ordinary criminal trial, but certainly not for this case, which resulted in a necessary review of death penalty cases for murder, and re-sentencing, which came about by exceptional reason of the fact a new law was enacted by the lawmakers of Singapore – the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012.
It must be pointed out that the new law is very specific, as to when it can be presided/heard by same Judge be it at the High Court or the Court of Appeal, who heard the trial at first instance, or original Appeals on conviction.
With regard to the judges of the Court of Appeal, one needs to refer to section 4(6) Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012
(6) If —
(b) any Judge of Appeal, having heard an appeal relating to an offence of murder, is unable for any reason to affirm the sentence or remit the case back to the High Court under subsection (5),
any other Judge of the High Court or any other Judge of Appeal, respectively, may do so.
It is clear that JA Phang, who was in the coram of the Court of Appeal that considered the original appeal against conviction, should or could have only been in the coram of the Court of Appeal that affirmed the sentence, hence deciding that the case will not be remitted back to the High Court for re-sentencing; OR in the coram of the Court of Appeal that remitted the case back to the High Court for re-sentencing.
There is no provision in the Act that allows for JA Phang to sit in the coram of the Court of Appeal that hears an appeal on the decision of re-sentencing High Court.
MADPET, is of the opinion that when an Act of Parliament specifically provides for when exactly a judge in Court of Appeal that considered the original appeal on conviction could sit, it is reasonable to state that Parliament never intended JA Phang to sit in the coram of the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal from the re-sentencing High Court’s decision, or any other applications to the Court of Appeal by Kho Jabing. If he could, it would reasonably been provided for in the Act.
It is certainly unsafe to discuss and provide an opinion based on a news report, but given the fact that Kho Jabing may be executed in a few hours, in the interest of justice, MADPET believes we have duty to raise now these relevant points we consider relevant – which, if correct, may render the decision to reject this recent application of Kho Jabing this Thursday(19/5/2016) possibly wrong in law. No one wants a man to be hanged to death wrongly because of a mistake or an error in law.
MADPET applauds Singapore decision to return sentencing discretion to judges for murder, by the enactment of Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012.
Of concern, is the fact that the prosecution and the accused, never had the opportunity to adduce evidence and make submissions relevant to this new law during trial, and this is a fact that has been acknowledged and/or is obvious from the Kho Jabing judgments. We see that it is an onerous, nay impossible, task that the judges in the Kho Jabing’s re-sentencing High Court, and the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal, had to go through in determining whether there was sufficient evidence to maintain the death penalty, or commute the sentence to imprisonment and caning.
As such, it would be reasonable and just for Singapore to commute the sentences of all those currently on death row for murder. Alternatively, the only other way is to have a re-trial of all these cases.
MADPET urges Attorney General/Public Prosecutor to consider the points we make here, do the needful, and immediately stay the execution of Kho Jabing and/or any others on death row for murder.
MADPET urges Singapore to immediately commute the sentence of all those on death row for murder, including Kho Jabing.
MADPET urges Singapore to abolish the death penalty.
For and on behalf of
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
19 May 2016
Singapore: President urged to grant clemency as execution looms
Amnesty International urges the President of Singapore to immediately grant clemency to Kho Jabing and halt any plans to carry out his execution, currently scheduled for 20 May. Executing him would be a regressive step and does not work as a deterrent to crime. The organization also calls on the government of Singapore to re-establish a moratorium on executions and commute all death sentences as first steps towards abolition of the death penalty in the country.
A Malaysian national, Kho Jabing is facing execution −for a second time− in Singapore on 20 May. Kho Jabing was convicted of murder and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty on 30 July 2010, together with a co-defendant. Following the 2012 review of Singapore’s mandatory death penalty laws, which introduced some sentencing discretion for the offences of murder and drug trafficking, on 14 August 2013 the High Court found that the murder of which Kho Jabing was convicted had not been intentional and resentenced Kho Jabing to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.
On 14 January 2015, the Court of Appeal re-imposed the death penalty on Kho Jabing on appeal, in a three-to-two split decision. While all five judges agreed that the evidence available in Kho Jabing’s case did not allow for a precise reconstruction of the murder, three judges found that Kho Jabing’s actions deserved to be punished by death and two held that the evidence available did not prove the murder had been carried out with “blatant disregard for human life”. The President of Singapore rejected his clemency application in October 2015 and ordered that Kho Jabing’s execution be set for 6 November 2015. A last minute appeal was submitted on 3 November 2015, three days before his scheduled execution, and the Court of Appeal issued a stay of execution on 5 November. On 5 April 2016 the appeal was dismissed and the execution scheduled once again.
As highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, anxiety and foreknowledge of death affects the mental integrity of a person sentenced to death and can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Kho Jabing and his family have already endured the distress of facing execution and Amnesty International is calling on the authorities of Singapore to spare them further suffering and grant Kho Jabing clemency.
Furthermore, Amnesty International believes that the upcoming execution of Kho Jabing goes against steps taken by the authorities of Singapore in recent years, which have resulted
in a reduction in use of the death penalty in the country. Following the official moratorium on executions established from 2012 to 2013, at least 13 people have had their death sentences reviewed and eventually commuted and new sentencing discretion has resulted in several individuals being spared the gallows.
The majority of the world’s countries have now repealed the death penalty from their national legislation and 140 in total are abolitionist in law or practice. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amnesty International supports calls included in five resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly since 2007 for the establishment of a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty and urges the authorities of Singapore to immediately halt all executions and commute all death sentences−including Kho Jabing’s.