FORUM-ASIA denounces the imposition of mandatory death penalty in Singapore
24 June 2010 12:00 pm

(Bangkok, 25 June 2010) The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) denounces the imposition of the death penalty in January 2009 on Mr. Yong Vui Kong, 22 years old, for trafficking 47 grams of diamorphine (heroin). Despite his appeal to the Singapore Court of Appeal, the Malaysian national’s plea against the mandatory death sentence was dismissed on 14 May 2010.

FORUM-ASIA expresses its concerns over Singapore’s application of mandatory death penalty, especially on drug-related offenses. FORUM-ASIA believes that the death penalty is a form of cruel and inhumane treatment and a violation of the right to life.

Furthermore, on 24 December 1996, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, highlighted in his report that “death penalty should be eliminated for crimes such as economic crimes and drug-related offences” as they fall outside the scope of “most serious crimes.” In Singapore, a person may be imposed the death penalty for drug-related offenses under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which is clearly in contravention to the above mention recommendation of the UN Special Rapporteur.

FORUM-ASIA urges the Singapore government to observe the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 62/149 on 18 December 2007, which calls on all countries that are still retaining the death penalty to implement a moratorium on the death penalty and move towards its abolition. The resolution has been adopted by the General Assembly and established a new international trend towards the abolition of the death penalty.

FORUM-ASIA expresses grave concern over the position of Malaysian government on Kong’s case. The Malaysian government has largely kept silent on this issue. It appears that the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore has not extended any support at all until recently when its representative saw Mr. Yong Vui Kong in prison for the first time since his incarceration two years ago. On 17 June 2010, Mr. Nazri Abdul Aziz, of the Prime Minister’s Department and de facto law minister, said that since the crime happened in Singapore, Malaysia will not interfere in its legal process.  Therefore, we call on the Malaysian government to protect the rights of its citizen in foreign countries pro-actively instead of evading its own obligations on the justification of “non interference”.

For the complete statement, please click here (pdf).