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FORUM-ASIA denounces the imposition of mandatory death penalty in Singapore

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(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).