Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Halt the execution of KHO JABING, Sarawakian who may be executed by Singapore soon

Kho Jabing, a 31 year old Sarawakan on death row in Singapore, had his clemency petition rejected by the President on the advise of the Cabinet on 19 October 2015. He has exhausted all legal avenues and is at risk of being executed soon.

Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) Press Statement - 3rd November 2015


The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) urgently calls on the government of Singapore to halt the impending execution of 31 -year-old Sarawakian Kho Jabing, whose application for clemency was rejected by the President of Singapore on 19 October.

Kho Jabing was arrested in February 2008 for his participation in a robbery during which he hit a victim with a wooden stick or branch, resulting in the man’s death. He was convicted in 2010 under Section 300c of Singapore’s Penal Code, and his mandatory death sentence was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in 2011.

In 2013, amendments to Singapore’s mandatory death penalty regime came into force, allowing Jabing the opportunity to be re-sentenced. Describing Jabing’s actions as “opportunistic and improvisational”, a High Court judge re-sentenced him to life imprisonment with 24 strokes of the cane. However, the prosecution appealed and in January 2015 a five-judge Court of Appeal reinstated the death sentence after deeming in a majority decision that Jabing had “exhibited a blatant disregard for human life”.

It is important to note that Jabing’s final death sentence was not passed with a unanimous decision, but a slim majority. Two of the five appeal judges did not feel that the death penalty was appropriate for his crime, and felt that there was reasonable doubt as to the number of times and intensity with which Jabing had hit his victim that would affect any consideration of whether he had acted with a blatant disregard for human life.

The death penalty is the most final and irreversible of punishments. We cannot afford a single shred of doubt when a state condemns an individual to the gallows.

Yet here we have the case of three learned judges – the High Court judge and two Court of Appeal judges – saying they did not believe capital punishment suitable in Jabing’s case. It is therefore unsafe to pass the ultimate sentence of death when doubt clearly exists even among Singapore’s most esteemed legal professionals.

ADPAN urges the President and the Cabinet of Singapore to reconsider their decision not to grant Jabing clemency.

Issued by:

ADPAN Executive Committee


Send letters/emails calling on the Singapore government to no execute Kho Jabing. A sample open letter by The Singapore Working Group on the Death Penalty can be found below.

You can send your letter to the following:

President of Singapore
His Excellency Tony Tan Keng Yam Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore
Orchard Road, Singapore 238823
Fax: (65) 67353135

Prime Minister of Singapore
Lee Hsien Loong Prime Minister’s Office
Istana Annexe, Orchard Road, Singapore 238823
Fax: (65) 63328983

Minister of Law and Home Affairs
Mr. K Shanmugam
100 High Street, #08-02 The Treasury, Singapore 179434
Fax: (65) 6332 8842

The letter that was sent by The Singapore Working Group on the Death Penalty

Mercy for Kho Jabing: An open letter to the Cabinet

Dear distinguished Ministers,

We are writing this letter of appeal for Kho Jabing, whose petition for clemency was rejected on 19 October 2015. We urge the Cabinet to reconsider his clemency in light of the fact that there was no unanimous decision even at the highest court of the land, and our learned judges were split in their opinion of whether the death penalty was appropriate in his case.

We also seek the compassion of the Cabinet for the family of Jabing, who have gone through much suffering since his original sentencing. His father passed away shortly while Jabing’s case was ongoing, and Jabing’s sister Jumai believes that her father’s illness prior to his death was due to Jabing’s incarceration, which came as a great blow for him. His mother, who has been unable to work due to health reasons, has lost both her sources of financial support and has been living on the goodwill of her neighbours and minimal state welfare ever since then.

On top of her ill-health, the thought of losing Jabing, her only son, is too much for his mother to bear. We cannot imagine the effect of his death will have on her wellbeing.

We understand the grievousness of his offence but hope that he will be given a second chance and a more meaningful way to atone for his crime.

We hope that our Ministers will be compassionate and consider all factors related, especially the impact of capital punishment on Jabing’s family, and exercise mercy by commuting his death sentence to that of life imprisonment.

Yours sincerely,

Singapore Working Group on the Death Penalty
The Singapore Working Group on Death Penalty comprises the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign, We Believe in Second Chances and Think Centre. All three organisations are also members of the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN).

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