Saturday, October 27, 2018

Malaysian Prabu, One of Possible 4, Executed By Singapore Disappointingly This Week - Emulate Malaysia, Abolish Death Penalty?

Media Statement – 26/10/2018

Malaysian Prabu, One of Possible 4, Executed By Singapore Disappointingly This Week

Singapore should follow Malaysia in Abolishing Death Penalty as we strive for a Death Penalty free ASEAN Region.

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is very disappointed that Singapore, which is just one of 4 countries, still conducting execution for drug offences in 2017, has on 26/10/2018 went and hanged 31 year old Malaysian, Prabu Pathmanathan. 

Prabu was sentenced to death for committing several acts preparatory to and for the purposes of trafficking 227.82g of diamorphine or heroin into the island state on Dec 31, 2014.(Malaysiakini, 26/10/2018).

According to The Online Citizen(TOC) report, Prabu is just one of a possible 4 persons who were executed this week. TOC reported that ‘Ali Bin Mohamad Bahashwan was executed alongside his co-accused Selamat Bin Paki on Wednesday afternoon (24 October 2018)…. Irwan Ali, a Singaporean, is the other inmate who is set to be executed this Friday…’(TOC, 26/10/2018)

The Singapore Prison Service 2017 annual report showed eight people were executed in 2017, up from four in 2016. Actual statistics of executions carried out in 2018 cannot be confirmed, as Singapore continuous be ‘secretive’ and not transparent with such data. It is believed that there may have already been about 8 executions to date in 2018.

Many a time in Singapore, one becomes aware of upcoming executions, only when immediate family is informed days before, take the trouble to inform anti-death penalty advocates and groups.

The death sentence is provided for drug-related crimes in about 15 countries, but according to Amnesty International only four countries recorded drug offence executions in 2017 – Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China.(South China Morning Post/SCMP, 26/10/2018)

In reality, the majority of those executed for drug trafficking will not be “kingpins” but are just low-level offenders. 

Many may have been driven to crime by reasons of poverty, which really highlights a failure of governments in ensuring the wellbeing and livelihood of its people.  Singapore, Malaysia and other States must really look into the link of poverty to crime, and maybe the solution to crime reduction a maybe a caring government policy that will ensure that no one will ever needs to resort to crime out of desperation for the wellbeing of themselves and their families.

Singapore also need to strive to become a more caring and civilized nation, and do away with this archaic ‘death penalty’ just like neighbouring Malaysia, who has already made the decision to totally abolish the death penalty. In Malaysia, the necessary Bills will be tabled at this current Parliamentary Session, that  will give effect to the Cabinet decision to abolish the Death Penalty.

MADPET calls on Singapore to follow neighbouring Malaysia and abolish the death penalty, as we strive forward for a more caring and civilized ASEAN where there is no more Death Penalty and Torture.

MADPET also calls on Malaysia to immediately identify Malaysians on death row at risk of being executed in Singapore prisons, and proactively act now to save them from being executed by Singapore. This is a priority, as knowledge about impending executions only come to light at the eleventh hour, and that too in only certain cases. 

MADPET further calls on Singapore to impose a moratorium on executions, and abolish the death penalty’

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

High contrast image of a hangman's noose from

4 executions set to take place within a span of 48 hours in Singapore — including one on Wednesday morning.

Update (1.01pm on 26 October 2018) - TOC understands that the total number of executions this week stands at 4 and not 3, as reported earlier. It has come to our attention that Ali Bin Mohamad Bahashwan was executed alongside his co-accused Selamat Bin Paki on Wednesday afternoon (24 October 2018). As a result of the lack of official data and statistics regarding executions, we had to take some time to verify and confirm this information before publishing this update. Prabu and Irwan were executed earlier today at 6am. Full story here.

While the newly elected Pakatan Harapan Government prepares to abolish the death penalty and ramps up its efforts to save the lives of Malaysians who are on death row abroad, their counterparts across the causeway seem to be hellbent on what can only be described as an unprecedented and vicious rampage.

Traditionally, executions in Singapore only take place at dawn on Friday. The only exception in recent history is the case of Kho Jabing who was originally set to be executed on Friday morning but was hung on Friday afternoon instead owing to an eleventh-hour appeal which was heard dismissed on the morning of his execution. Following Jabing's execution, the time between an inmate's execution and the time an inmate's family will be notified of the execution decreased from two weeks to just one week.

This week, Singapore is set to execute no less than four inmates in a span of just 48 hours. Earlier today (24 October 2018), Selamat Bin Paki and his co-accused Ali Bin Mohamad Bahashwan were executed. This is the first time that an inmate is being executed on a Wednesday. Another two executions are slated for this Friday (26 October 2018). The family of Prabu N Pathmanathan, a  31 year-old Malaysian national who is set to be executed this Friday, was only notified of his execution date on 20 October 2018 according to a report from Malaysiakini. Irwan Ali, a Singaporean, is the other inmate who is set to be executed this Friday.

As executions are not announced publicly, activists and lawyers face a hard time trying to find out the execution dates of inmates. The short time between when the families are notified and when the executions take place also make it hard to arrange for family members, especially those who live overseas and may not be able to afford to travel to Singapore, to spend some time with the inmate during his/her final days and hours. Prior to the case of Jabing, activists and lawyers also operated under the assumption that if one could get an execution stayed, the inmate would not be hung until the following Friday morning - giving more time for the family to prepare for the execution and legal recourse, if any. However, the "rush" to execute Jabing following the dismissal of his criminal motion throws all of those assumptions, which were once widely accepted as conventions surrounding execution by all parties, out of the window. Kirsten Han, an anti-death penalty activist from Singapore, summarises the bleak situation in the following words:
"It is shocking to hear about a hanging taking place on a Wednesday, departing from years of precedent where executions took place at 6am on Fridays. Although it’s awful to hang people on any day of the week, this move away from the prison’s usual practice means that the little that we know about capital punishment in Singapore might no longer be true, making the death penalty regime even more opaque and unaccountable to the public than before.

We have also noticed that the time between the rejection of a clemency appeal and the scheduling of an execution has been reduced, which means families also have less time to mentally and emotionally prepare themselves." - Kirsten Han, Second Chances
In addition to the lack of rigidity surrounding the conventions governing the process of execution, the Singapore Prisons Services and the Ministry of Home Affairs is not transparent in relation to the total number of executions per year. TOC understands that if the two executions slated for Friday are carried out, it would mean that no less than eight inmates were hung this year. This is an increase from the total number of executions in 2017 (9) and is more than twofold increase from the total number of executions in 2016, which stands at four.

M Ravi, an international human rights lawyer who has been representing clients on death row for almost 15 years now had this to say about the executions this week:
"Though we were tragically unable save Selamat Bin Paki this morning, I hope the government will take immediate steps to impose a moratorium on death penalty by staving off the two impending executions this Friday in line with what Malaysia had recently done towards abolishing the death penalty. Quite rightly, Malaysia has acknowledged that death penalty does not serve as a deterrence. Our leadership needs the courage to recognise this, put aside its ego and do the right thing."
Malaysian Law Minister Liew Vui Keong told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that he received news of Prabu's imminent execution only this morning (24 October 2018) and shared that he intends to pen a letter to the Singapore Government to halt Prabu's execution. He added that he plans to work with the Foreign Ministry on this issue. When asked what would happen if the execution were to be carried out, he replied “That will be a sad thing. I hope they won't.”

Anti-death penalty activists in Singapore will be organising a  candlelight vigil for both Prabu and Irwan tomorrow evening at 7.30pm at Hong Lim Park. More information on the vigil can be found at this link.

TOC will update this article as the story develops. - TOC, 24/10/2018

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