NGO wants Putrajaya to stop Malaysian’s execution in Singapore

Terence Tang
Executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia, Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, speaks during a press conference in Petaling Jaya May 8, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Amnesty International Malaysia urged Putrajaya to intervene in a Malaysian’s scheduled execution for drug possession in Singapore this Friday.

The human rights group pointed out that during Pannir Selvam Pranthaman’s trial, he had maintained his innocence by denying knowledge that he was carrying prohibited drugs and the Singapore High Court had found that he was a drug mule.

According to Pannir’s lawyer, he had assisted Singapore authorities by providing information about a fellow Malaysian who alleged duped him into carrying the drugs to the city-state.

Under Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act, the court has the discretion not to impose the death penalty if the convicted offender is a courier and has been issued a certificate by the public prosecutor stating that he had cooperated with authorities, the statement added.

“Singapore authorities must immediately halt plans to kill Pannir Selvam Pranthaman and put a stop to this continuous wave of callous executions.

“The Malaysian government should do all in its power to urge the Singapore government to stop the execution of another of its nationals,” Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said in a statement.

Pointing out that the number of executions last year in Singapore had risen to double digits for the first time since 2003, Shamini had called for Singapore to emulate Malaysia’s initiative in abolishing the mandatory death penalty.

“The death penalty is a degrading and inhuman punishment. We denounce its use in all circumstances. It is time for Singapore to follow the government of Malaysia’s example, who have suspended all executions and announced plans to abolish the mandatory death penalty, as a first step towards abolition,” she said.

The group also noted that Singapore had carried out 13 executions in 2018 and eight in 2017 for drug-related offences, with the hanging of another Malaysian, Michael Anak Garing, carried out on March 29 this year.

In a Bernama report yesterday, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah was quoted as saying that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong was trying to convince the Singaporean government to save Pannir from the death penalty.

Pannir was convicted of possession of diamorphine in 2017 in Singapore.

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