Singapore has right to hang drug offenders: MHA, Law Ministry

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SINGAPORE —  It is Singapore’s sovereign right to use the death penalty against drug offenders and it expects other countries to respect its laws, said the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a joint statement on Friday (Nov 22).

"Singapore's laws apply equally to all, regardless whether the offender is Singaporean or foreign," said the ministries, stressing that foreigners cannot expect different treatment.

The agencies were responding to a statement by Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law) Liew Vui Keong, regarding his “grave concern” about the execution of a Malaysian citizen for drug offences in Singapore.

Abd Helmi Ab Halim, who had trafficked pure heroin sufficient to feed the addiction of nearly 200 abusers for a week, was executed on Friday at Changi Prison Complex. This followed an unsuccessful petition to Singapore's President for clemency.

MinLaw and MHA stressed that he was accorded full due process under the law, and was represented by legal counsel throughout the process.

The agencies noted that Datuk Liew had said "drug kingpins and true masters of the trade who shadow the curtains in the dark... must face the full brunt of the law" in order to combat the drug problem.

They noted that Malaysia can also help in the common fight against drugs by “aggressively rooting out” the drug kingpins in Malaysia who send drug traffickers to the Republic, and taking “serious steps” to prevent people from being recruited for drug trafficking.

”Such drug traffickers, by peddling drugs, bring death and misery, and destroy thousands of lives in Singapore,” said the two ministries.

MinLaw and MHA stressed that the death penalty is an important component of Singapore's comprehensive anti-drug strategy, calling it an “effective deterrent” when combined with other measures.

”The use of capital punishment is an issue that every country has the sovereign right to decide for itself, taking into account its own circumstances and in accordance with its international law obligations. There is no international consensus on the use of the death penalty.”


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