Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is Malaysia committed to saving the lives of Vui Kong and other citizens facing the death penalty?

The question now is whether the Najib and the current BN-government is committed to saving the lives of its citizens facing the death penalty. The Indonesian government apparently is...

"...To this end, the spokesman noted the Indonesian government is committed to saving the lives of its citizens..."

Yong Vui Kong, the young Sabahan Malaysia, is facing the threat of execution, more so after the Singapore Court of Appeal recently rejected his application...

Singapore court rejects death-row Malaysian's appeal

AFP April 4, 2012, 7:08 pm
Yong Yun Leong (left) and Yong Yun Chung (centre), the brothers of convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong, leave the High Court with lawyer M Ravi, in Singapore on April 4, 2011. Yong Vui Kong, on death ro for drug trafficking had what could be his final appeal thrown out on Wednesday by the city-state s highest court.AFP © Enlarge photo
SINGAPORE (AFP) - A Malaysian man on death row in Singapore for drug trafficking had what could be his final appeal thrown out on Wednesday by the city-state's highest court.

Yong Vui Kong was 19 when he was sentenced to hang in 2008 for smuggling 47 grams (1.65 ounces) of heroin into Singapore. Only an act of clemency from President Tony Tan can save him now after his third appeal was rejected.

"We dismiss the application as it has absolutely no merit on the law and on the facts," said chief justice Chan Sek Keong, who heads the three-judge Court of Appeal.

"We are unable to accept any of the arguments. Some are mere assertions while some are contrary to evidence," he added, reading a summary of the written judgement to Yong, who stood somberly as he faced the judge.

Yong, now 23, from eastern Malaysia's Sabah state, has also filed a second appeal for presidential clemency after his first bid was refused by the previous president, SR Nathan.

According to official figures, there were four executions in 2011, two of them for drug-related offences. From 2004 to 2010, there were 26 Singaporeans and 12 foreigners hanged.

Death by hanging, the only form of execution in Singapore, is mandatory for anyone caught trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis, as well as for murder.

In its latest report, Amnesty International said the wealthy city-state is one of seven countries, including Malaysia, India and Iran, that continue to have a mandatory death penalty for certain crimes.

Singapore officials have defended capital punishment as crucial in the fight against drugs. -, 4/4/2012, Singapore court rejects death-row Malaysian's appeal
See also how the Indonesian government have been succeessful in saving the lives of its citizens facing the death penalty - and also their commitment

22 death-row inmates exonerated, repatriated to Indonesia

Twenty two death row Indonesian inmates in the Kingdom have been exonerated and repatriated back to Indonesia, while 25 maids are still facing death sentences in Saudi Arabia for various offenses.

“Jakarta will be sending a 14-member presidential task force to the Kingdom on April 7 to talk to Saudi officials and to intensify efforts in cooperation with its embassy to rescue the maids,” said Hendrar Pramutyo, spokesman of the Indonesian embassy in Riyadh, on Thursday.

Pramutyo said: “Six housemaids are on death row in Riyadh province alone, whereas about 19 female workers have been handed death sentences in the Western region. We will be attending a court hearing in Dammam next week.”

He added many other workers may not be so fortunate. However, the embassy as well as the Jeddah-based consulate are working hard to secure pardons for the workers, he added.

Such problems are limited to a few countries, he noted.

According to a report published in Indonesian newspaper The Presidential Post, a total of 167 Indonesian nationals are on death row, and 11 others had also been sentenced to death in different countries including Saudi Arabia recently. Most Indonesian nationals sentenced to death had committed either serious criminal offenses or implicated on baseless grounds.

Some 117 are in death row in Malaysia, 20 in China, 25 in Saudi Arabia, and two in Singapore. They can always be acquitted if these countries find them not guilty or a royal pardon is granted, said Pramutyo.

To this end, the spokesman noted the Indonesian government is committed to saving the lives of its citizens. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced last week an extension to the tenure of the special taskforce handling Indonesian migrant workers.

Asked about the total number of convicted workers currently languishing in Saudi jails, the embassy’s spokesman said a total of 1,700 Indonesians were serving prison terms.

“However, thanks to the Saudi government amnesty a large number of them were set free and repatriated back to Indonesia,” said Pramutyo. He pointed out the Indonesian diplomatic missions are still exerting efforts to secure the release of workers in jail for petty crimes.

We have also asked permission from the host government to allow our presidential task force delegation to visit Saudi jails,” said the spokesman, adding that he is awaiting a response from the Kingdom.  The presidential task force visited the Kingdom on previous occasions, which eventually helped to secure the release of some workers and save some of them from execution. Indonesia created this special task force in July last year to protect migrant workers.

The task force’s members focus on migrant workers facing the death penalty in different countries, including Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran. On the question of manpower deployment from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, the spokesman said that there is a still a deadlock. However, the two sides are in touch with each other, he added. The Kingdom has imposed its own boycott on recruitment, while Indonesia also decided to maintain its current ban on recruitment agencies sending workers to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Kuwait.

Indonesia says these countries have not adopted a legal framework that it thinks is sufficient to legally protect its workers and ensure their rights are fulfilled. - arab, 5/4/2012, 22 death-row inmates exonerated, repatriated to Indonesia

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