Saturday, May 21, 2016

KHO JABING EXECUTED IN A HURRY - Right to Fair Trial Compromised?

Malaysian news

Singapore Executes Malaysian After Final Appeal Dismissed

Dennis Wong
2016-05-20 - Kuching
Lawyers for Malaysian Kho Jabing, Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (left) and Alfred Dodwell (right), leave a courtroom in Singapore after a five-judge panel dismissed their appeal, May 20, 2016. 
Singapore hanged Kho Jabing of Sarawak, Malaysia, on Friday afternoon for killing a construction worker eight years ago, after a last-minute stay of execution was lifted.

Rachel Zeng of the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign confirmed that Koh, 32, was executed at 3:30 p.m. at the Changi Prison after meeting with his family.

Kho had been granted the stay on Thursday night after his legal team filed an appeal. On Friday morning, a five-judge panel dismissed the appeal, clearing the way for the unusual afternoon execution. Singapore normally carries out capital punishment at dawn.

“This court should not be seen as a device to undermine the legal process. We cannot allow applications made at the eleventh hour, one after another,” Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin said in dismissing the appeal Friday, according to reports.

Kho’s family, who could not be reached for comment Friday, received a letter from the Singapore Prison Service last week stating the execution was scheduled for the morning of May 20.

The execution brought a sudden end to a six-year legal saga that included a period in which Kho’s sentence was changed to life in prison.

Six-year saga

Kho was sentenced to die in 2010 after the Singapore High Court found him guilty of using a tree branch to kill construction worker Cao Ruyin during a robbery attempt in 2008. Cao, who died six days after being beaten, suffered multiple skull fractures.

In August 2013, following revisions to Singapore’s mandatory death penalty laws, a court sentenced Kho to life and 24 strokes of the cane instead. The prosecution challenged the decision and the top court changed the sentence to death.

Kho’s execution was stayed in November 2015 when his lawyers challenged the verdict. On April 5, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence.

On May 13, Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem told BenarNews the state government had exhausted all efforts to persuade Singaporean authorities to grant Kho clemency.


Global rights group Amnesty International (AI) condemned the execution since it was “mere hours” after Kho’s last chance for a reprieve was dismissed.

“It is disgraceful that Kho Jabing was executed, particularly with such indecent haste, after his final appeal was denied this morning,” AI’s Deputy Director of South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office Josef Benedict said in a statement.

AI’s Malaysia chapter Executive Director Shamini Darshini said that Singapore had taken a step back toward the ranks of countries that use cruel and inhumane forms of punishment.

“He has variously [been] sentenced to death, re-sentenced to life imprisonment and caning, and sentenced to death once more. The ordeal Kho’s family had been put through for the past six years would have been puzzling and utterly cruel,” she said.

Singapore executed six people in 2014 and 2015 – five for drug offenses and one for murder. The government did not release details on their nationalities.

Malaysia has not abolished capital punishment and the government on Tuesday announced 1,041 prisoners are on death row.

In November, Nancy Shukri of the Prime Minister’s department of legal affairs, said the Malaysian government planned to submit a bill to abolish the mandatory death sentence for several crimes, particularly drug-related offenses and possession of firearms.- Benar News - 21/5/2016

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.


Index: ASA 36/4077/201

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.


Santhosh Kannan
Communications Coordinator

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Jalan Sungai Jernih 8/ 1
Section 8
46050 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia

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