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'We have evidence': LFL accuses S’pore of unlawful, brutal hanging methods
Published:  Nov 23, 2019 4:23 AM
Updated: Feb 13, 2020 9:16 AM

Lawyers For Liberty (LFL) is claiming to have “incontrovertible” evidence that Singapore Prison Services (SPS) practices “unlawful and brutal” methods when carrying out hangings in the island republic.

LFL advisor N Surendran, however, said the organisation would not be revealing the information immediately to protect its sources but is willing to discuss said evidence with Singapore authorities.

“We have incontrovertible evidence that unlawful and extremely brutal methods are secretly used in carrying out hangings by SPS. We are prepared to reveal this evidence, supplied by prison officers, in due course,” he said in a statement today.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, Surendran, a former lawmaker, said the evidence was compiled based on testimonies by prison officers stationed in the execution chamber and who were “directly involved in carrying out executions”.

“It (the evidence) relates to the way in which the hanging is carried out. (We do not plan to immediately release the evidence) as we need to ensure the source is protected,” he said.

“It would be best if Singapore places a moratorium (on hanging for drug offences) immediately, we are prepared to discuss the evidence directly with the Singapore authorities.”

The statement came in the wake of the hanging of Malaysian Abd Helmi Ab Halim yesterday for drug trafficking in 2017.

Abd Helmi was arrested on April 2015, and sentenced to death for trafficking 16.56 grammes of diamorphine in 2017.

His plea for clemency was rejected in July this year.

Surendran, as well as Malaysian Law Minister Liew Vui Keong,  had appealed for mercy in the 36-year-old’s case and called on Singapore to show mercy

Liew had said the sentence was disproportionate for drug mules, while LFL accused Singapore of bias against Malaysians and of executing drug mules instead drug kingpins.

Meanwhile, in his statement today, Surendran said Singapore should emulate Malaysia by placing an immediate moratorium and reviewing capital punishment for drug offences.

“We hope Singapore will do so before we are compelled to disclose the above-mentioned evidence, which will prove to be an international embarrassment for them,” he added.

Surendran also criticised the Republic's Law and Home Affairs ministries over their joint statement which justified Abd Helmi’s execution.

Calling the statement “a combination of dishonest excuses and false statements, and breathtakingly arrogant”, he took the ministries to task over claims Malaysia was allegedly not doing enough to arrest drug kingpins here.

"Malaysia can help in the common fight against drugs by aggressively rooting out the drug kingpins in Malaysia who send drug traffickers to Singapore,” their statement read.

They also reportedly called on Malaysia to take "serious steps" to prevent recruited drug traffickers to move the drugs to and from Singapore.

"In this way, Malaysia can do more to help save the lives of Malaysians who would otherwise become drug traffickers, trafficking drugs into Singapore. Such drug traffickers, by peddling drugs, bring death and misery, and destroy thousands of lives in Singapore,” the two ministries were quoted saying.

Malaysiakini is attempting to contact the Singapore authorities to respond.

In October last year, Singapore also executed 31-year-old Malaysian Prabu Pathmanathan. In the latter's final photoshoot prior to his hanging, he urged the youth not to get involved in drugs.

Additional reporting by Darshini Kandasamy. 

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