Latest: Singapore single mother awaits death row in Malaysia for drug trafficking. On the pretext of a business trip to China, Iqah was handed a suitcase containing heroin arranged by her Nigerian boyfriend and was arrested by Malaysian Immigration. A campaign is underway to raise funds for the appeal. To find out more, read

We have also heard that since Vui Kong's appeal started, there has been an unofficial stay of execution for all prisoners on death row in Changi Prison, pending the decision of the court on Yong's case. As the case has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal, we anticipate a Changi gallows bloodbath in a scale not seen since the Pulau Senang uprising in 1965 when 18 men were convicted of murder and hanged in a single Friday morning.

Singapore, which routinely persecute dissenters and critics, continue to hang young drug runners while at the same time work closely with Burmese military generals, and has invested billions in business ties with Burma, one of the biggest heroin manufacturing countries the world.


If you know someone who's charged in a capital case, received the death sentence, or is on death row in Singapore and if you have have your side of the story to tell, contact us at sgdeathpenalty [at]

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Public execution in Iran (video)

Capital punishment by hanging is still practiced in a few Commonwealth countries, Singapore and Malaysia included. The gore and cruelty of execution by hanging have been shielded away from public's eye because few people can stomach the total loss of human dignity when a person is executed.

Judicial execution and public execution is essentially the same in terms of what prisoners go through psychologically.

In the video an unhooded woman and two men are draped with the noose and executed by suspension hanging. A suspension crane is lifted up where the ropes are tied to.

The woman appeared to struggle for a minute and then went limp, while the two men put up no sign of struggle and were presumed to be unconscious within seconds due to carotid sinus reflex where cardiac arrest occurs.

Would you still support the death penalty if you had to watch an execution in public? Take the poll on the right of the site.

Iran public hanging video (graphic: discretion is adviced)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Singapore drug laws fail miserably as a deterrent"

Letter to MalaysiaKini - Hangman's Noose: All the doors will close on Yong

KC Gan
Jun 22, 10

Based on past experience, efforts to save Yong Vui Kong, who received the mandatory death sentence in Singapore for drug trafficking, face an almost impossible battle. It is a case that absolutely screams out for compassion: a foolish, confused and handicapped youth ill-used by faceless drug kingpins. His appeal for clemency has already been rejected by the president of Singapore who ought to have used his office to mitigate the appallingly harsh law under which Yong was convicted despite the small amount of drugs he was found in possession of.

Singapore's Law Minister is reported to have said: 'Yong Vui Kong is young, but if we say, we let you go, what is the signal we are sending?' One might reply that it will signal there is still a shred of mercy left within the island's justice system. And can the minister really be so unforgiving that commuting the sentence to life imprisonment is equated to 'letting you go?'

Perhaps the minister is alluding to the possibility that drug kingpins will be encouraged to use young persons as couriers if Yong is not executed. But this is to imagine that drug kingpins, contrary to everything we know about them, actually care about the fate of their mules. To think that the island will be flooded with drugs if one less person is executed or the law made more discriminating is indeed a case of paranoid thinking.

If the upbringing, decency and education of ordinary Singaporeans are to be so easily toppled by a few thoughtless drug mules, it is not a very strong society is it?

That fact that there have been a never ending series of executions for drug offences in Singapore shows clearly that, as a deterrent, their existing laws fail miserably. Studies show that would-be offenders are influenced more by their assessment of the chances of getting caught rather than by the harshness of the penalty if caught.

Young people especially are often not mature enough to make the correct judgement so it's no use telling them that they have been warned. Is it right for society to require them to forfeit their lives for a single act of rashness, greed or stupidity?

The present case recalls that of Nguyen Van Tuong, a young Australian hanged by the Singapore authorities in 2005 for heroin trafficking despite the strongest appeals for clemency made by the Australian prime minister, Australian federal and state parliaments, the Pope, the New Zealand PM, many others and a loud clamour from the Australian public.

Tragically, the doors of hope are likely to close upon Yong Vui Kong one by one. As the hangman prepares the ropes for yet another judicial murder of a hapless young man, Singaporeans should reflect on the sort of society they live in and how their high standard of living can coexist with a primitive and pitiless justice system. The sad truth is that most of them would not even have heard of this case.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Death Penalty in Singapore: Case Files

  • In 2005, Took Leng How, a Malaysian worker at the Pukit Panjang Wholesale Centre came under investigation when 8 year old Huang Na went missing. Took fled Singapore to Malaysia while under police custody. Under the advice of his father, who told him that Singapore laws will protect him if he did not murder Huang Na, Took returned to Singapore to give evidence on how he accidentally strangled Huang Na during a game of hide and seek. Despite no conclusive evidence that Took intentionally murdered Huang Na, he was sentenced to mandatory death. Days before his execution, Took was filled with rage and he told his family that he wanted wear a red suit during the execution, ostensibly under Chinese culture as a way to seek revenge, as he did not believe that he deserved to be hanged. His family pleaded with him to go in peace, and Took finally relented. (This is first hand account from Took Leng How's family) Took's case begs two questions to ponder about: Why would Took Leng How return to Singapore voluntarily to face near certain death sentence if he had really intentionally murdered Huang Na? Why would a person guilty of murder on the eve of his execution have so much hatred in him to seek revenge?
  • The trial judge, before passing the death sentence on Yong Vui Kong, summoned the defence counsel and public prosecutor to chamber and asked the prosecution if they would consider reducing the charge given the relatively young age of the drug offender, who was not even 19 at the age of the offence. The prosecution declined and the death sentence was handed to Vui Kong.
  • In 2002, Julia Suzanne Bohl, a 20 year old German girl was found with 687g of marijuana in her home in Singapore, 187g higher than the limit which carries the mandatory death sentence. Germany promptly intervened, and because of the politically sensitive nature of the case the charge was reduced to one of trafficking and she was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Eventually, Julia served only 2 years of her prison sentence and she was sent back to Germany. Does the State regard an Australian, Nigerian and Malaysian life as less important than that of a German's?
  • The Central Narcotics Bureau routinely uses undercover detective to pose as buyers for drugs, such as in the case of Rozman bin Jusoh. During the trial it became evident that Rozman was intellectually handicapped, taking more than five minutes to answer a simple question like the number of siblings he had. His interpreter and psychologist both emphasized that Rozman was not simply faking it. The trial judge also pointed out that “It was…clear from the evidence that the CNB agent and the undercover CNB officer were more than mere agents, and had, in fact, undertaken a substantially active role in persuading [Rozman] to sell them drugs...". The judge then proceeded to sentence him a lesser sentence of 7 years imprisonment under a lesser charge for subnormal intellect. The prosecution appealed against the sentence, and the High Court eventually passed the death sentence on Rozman after considering that his subnormal intellect was not enough to negate his intention to traffick the drugs.
  • Singapore has the highest per capita rate of execution in the world according to Amnesty International, a human rights based group which keeps track of human rights violation around the world. Majority of the executed were for drug offences.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Death row case: Minister to meet Yong's lawyer

Susan Loone
Jun 19, 10

Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian national currently on death row in Singapore, may finally be getting a shot at keeping his appeal alive, as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs have reportedly agreed to a meeting with his lawyer.

NONEM Ravi (left), a human rights lawyer representing Yong on a pro-bono basis, said the government has requested to meet him when he visits Kuala Lumpur next week, between June 25 and 29.

“They have requested that I write a formal letter to them, which I have just forwarded to the media. I will keep you informed of the developments,” said Ravi, in an SMS to Malaysiakini yesterday evening.

Ravi says the Singapore Malaysian High Commission's second secretary Rohani Hussain conveyed the request.

Ravi met with Rohani and Juraida Abd Jamil, the other second secretary from the Consular's officer, for about an hour in Hotel Hilton this morning to discuss Yong's case.

Rohani visited Yong, who was caught trafficking 47g of heroin into the island city in 2007, in Changi prison yesterday following media reports seeking Malaysia's intervention in the case

Duty to protect citizens

At the same time, Ravi said he is exploring with Malaysian lawyers to file an application in court for mandatory injunction to compel the Malaysian government to file a complaint in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“This would be done if (Malaysia) fails in its duty to exercise its right to this vital legal remedy, which is available to our client via the ICJ,” he said.

NONE“We note with regret the de facto law minister of Malaysia's (Nazri) response, that the case was an internal matter. His remark was of grave concern to us, our client as well as the legal community and civil society in Malaysia,” he added.

“It is the duty of the Malaysian government to protect the rights of its nationals,” he stressed.

Ravi, in his letter to the High Commissioner, explained that Yong was making a clemency petition to the Singapore cabinet and President SR Nathan.

S'pore minister prejudiced case

His recourse for remedy was unfortunately pre-empted when Singapore Law Minister K Shanmugam made a remark about the latter's case even before he could file the clemency, said Ravi.

Ravi added that Shanmugam's remark has prejudiced Yong's relief to the clemency process.

“In our view, as well as based on the opinion of legal experts in London, this is a serious breach of due process. We would urge the Malaysian government to file a complaint at the ICJ on behalf of its national facing imminent death arising out of the breach of local and international laws by Singapore,” he said.

“In view of the denial of the clemency process, the only option available to the Singapore government is to commute Yong's death sentence, which is the same remedy that can be sought by the Malaysian government at the ICJ”.

On May 9, Shanmugam said publicly that “Yong Vui Kong is young, but if we say, we let you go, what is the signal we are sending?”

The island's legal experts said that these comment had potentially prejudiced an appeal before it had been decided in court, making Nathan's rejection of Yong's clemency appeal both “illegal and flawed”.

Friday, June 18, 2010

M'sian High Com to visit Yong today: mkini


Susan Loone
Jun 18, 10

For the first time in two years since his incarceration, Malaysian prisoner Yong Vui Kong is expected to receive a visitor from the Malaysian High Commissioner's office in Singapore later today

It is uncertain whether the Commissioner himself or a representative from the his office will be dropping in on the 22-year old in Changi prison.

Malaysia has largely kept silent on his sentence and pending execution for a drug trafficking offence in 2007 when he was barely 19.

But a ray of hope for Yong flickered yesterday, when his Singaporean lawyer M. Ravi received a telephone call from the Commissioner's office, requesting an "urgent" meeting regarding the case.

NONERavi, (right) an established human rights lawyer in Singapore, told Malaysiakini that Commissioner Md Hussin Nayan wanted a briefing on the latest developments of the case at 10am tomorrow (today).

"I am hopeful that Malaysia would intervene in this matter and I will explain in detail about the legal consequences of this case, which is important to Malaysia, and the clemency petition to commute Yong's death sentence," said the lawyer, who is representing Yong on a pro-bono basis.

Flawed legal process

"The crux of the issue is that a Malaysian citizen has been denied clemency, and the whole process is flawed and illegal," he added.

Ravi was referring to a senior law officer's comment that it is not the Attorney-General but cabinet which makes a decision on this matter. Later, President SR Nathan had rejected the petition.

However, Yong's scheduled hanging in December last year was delayed when his lawyer applied for a stay of execution.

Ravi thanked Malaysiakini for highlighting the issue in its news portal as a series of articles recently had sparked the interest of the Malaysian government and Singaporean online media to look further into the case
"I am prepared to give my fullest cooperation to assist the Malaysian government to act in the rightful manner and best interest of my client," he added.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri
Abdul Aziz ruffled the legal community's feathers when he said he was unaware of Yong's case, and since it happened in Singapore, Malaysia will not interfere in its legal process.

Lawyers working on the death penalty issue and Yong's case had expressed 'shock and astonishment' that Nazri, the de facto law minister, could wash his hands of the matter.

However, Param Curamasamy, former UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said despite Nazri's "irrational public statements," he cannot be faulted on this particular issue.

He said this is because Asean, of which Malaysia is a member, had a pact not to interfere in each other's internal affairs.

Moreover, in both countries - Malaysia and Singapore - drug traffickers face the mandatory death sentence.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Silence on Yong's pending execution in S'pore

Malaysiakini - Susan Loone Jun 14, 10 3:29pm

Malaysia appears to be painfully silent on the upcoming execution of 22-year-old Malaysian Yong Vui Kong, for trafficking 47g of heroin into Singaporethree years ago.

Yong's Singaporean lawyer, M Ravi, who was in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, told Malaysiakini he was in town to seek help from the public to show the Singapore government that Malaysians cannot tolerate Yong's execution or the death penalty.

NONEYong (pictured with his mother) was only 19 when arrested in 2007, outside the Meritus Mandarin Hotel in Singapore.

He was convicted on Nov 14 last year for drug trafficking and sentenced to death, which should have taken place on Dec 4.

However, Ravi, a prominent human rights lawyer, filed for a stay of execution on Dec 1, making it the first such case to be halted in the country.

When contacted, Ravi said he is aware why Singapore did not find it necessary to highlight Yong's case.

"Probably because he presents no political mileage. He is first of all a (Malaysian) Chinese, and a Sabahan," said Ravi in a telephone interview.

NONE"But Malaysia can help by bringing the case to the International Court of Justice to determine whether Singapore's conduct constitutes a violation of both local and international laws and further seek a judgment," he said.

Ravi (right) said the mandatory death sentence in any country is tantamount to cruelty and violates international standards and human rights law.

Despite Yong's petition for clemency, Singapore Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong ruled on May 14 that Yong must go to the gallows.

"It is all wrong, because even a senior cabinet minister has said he should be hanged even before he had presented his petition," said Ravi.

According to Article 22(p) of the Singapore constitution, a petition is submitted to the president who then makes his decision on the clemency or mercy petition. President SR Nathan rejected the clemency petition last December.

nazri abdul azizWhen met in the Parliament lobby today, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz was in the dark about the case.

"This is the first time I heard about this case. What is it all about?" he asked.

When details were given, Nazri simply said: "It's in Singapore so we will not interfere in their legal processes."

'Sad case'

Think Centre, a human rights NGO in Singapore, said the Court of Appeal has acknowledged that the mandatory death sentence is a cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment in other countries.

"But since Singapore's constitution does not provide for a prohibition against cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment, the legal system here (Singapore) seems extremely inhumane," said executive director Samydorai Sinnappan.

Activist Rachel Zeng, who has met Yong's family, said this was indeed one of the "saddest" cases in Singapore.

"I hope everything goes well with his appeal. We will do what we can to campaign along with the appeal," she added when contacted.

Zeng said Yong was permitted to see his mother through a glass panel last December. He knelt and bowed three times to her.

"It was really emotional as they have not seen each other for three years," said Zeng, who related the experience in her blog.

"They (Yong's family) did not tell her that her son is on death row in order to minimise the blow due to her (health) condition."

Zeng said she does not understand why the Singapore government and the attorney-general's chambers seem to be in a hurry to execute Yong.

"I also learnt just last Friday that there was another execution of a young man from Sabah (at the end of last November).

"Yong knew the young man as they were on death row together. It was a drug-related case as well," she added.

In Asia, apart from Singapore, only two other countries execute those who are found guilty of trafficking drugs - Malaysia and Thailand.

Monday, June 14, 2010

High Court waives $$20,000 security deposit for Vui Kong's Judicial Review application

In light of last month's Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss the appeal for condemned drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong, counsel M. Ravi made an application last week to the High Court for Judicial Review related to Vui Kong's clemency process and other constitutional matters.

Under normal circumstances, a $20,000 security deposit and a $1,000 filing fee are payable for an application for judicial review, especially so in Vui Kong's case because he had already exhausted the Criminal Jurisdiction process, and an application for judicial review would fall under civil law.

On a letter dated 7th June 2010, the High Court replied to M. Ravi stating, "we unable to accede to your request for a waiver of filing fees for the Judicial Review application." No reasons were given.

The following day, the High Court did an about-turn when it sent another letter, which reads, "Please be informed that as the intended application for Judicial Review arises out of a criminal case, it is treated as a criminal case and therefore no filing is payable. This letter supersedes our letter dated 7 June 2010."

One can only speculate the High Court's sudden change of decision regarding the waiver of fees, which sums up to over $21,000, which is by no means a small amount for most people.

But one thing for certain is that this could have favourable implications on future applications for judicial reviews, as it sets a precedent for future criminal cases and allows the vast majority, who are not able to afford the large sum of money needed, to determine their rights by way of judicial review.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

APYN action for Yong Vui Kong

APYN action for Yong Vui Kong

Yong Vui Kong was a teenager when he was found guilty of carrying 47g of heroin from Malaysia into Singapore. In Singapore there is a mandatory death sentence for all drug trafficking cases involving more than 30g of heroin leaving judges no discretion to consider factors such as age, background of the offender or other special circumstances

Youg Vui Kong is now 22 years old, he has exhausted his appeals and he is due to be hanged shortly. The only hope for his life being spared is if he is granted clemency and his death sentence is commuted to a prison sentence.

Please take a few minutes to support this urgent APYN action by sending a message to the President of Singapore and to the Editor-in-Chief of the Straits Times. Please create your own polite message; this is very important as inappropriate messages will be counter-productive. Or you can use the model text below.

Express action option – send your messages by email

President of Singapore e-mail address :

Editor-in-Chief of the Straits Times

Semi-express action option – please send tourist postcards showing a famous landmark in your country to the President and to the Editor-in-Chief of the Straits times so they are aware that people in lots of countries are concerned about this case.

His Excellency SR Nathan
Office of the President
Orchard Road, Istana
Singapore 0922

The Straits Times
1000 Toa Payoh North
News Centre
Singapore 318994

What else can I do?

Take a photo of yourself holding a sign saying “Don’t Execute Yong Vui Kong” and upload it as your Facebook profile picture. If you decide to do this please also keep a link to this action posted near the top of your Wall and/or use the Facebook Notes option to tell your Friends about the Youg Vui Kong case and include a link to this action at the end

  • Please tell your friends about this case and invite them to take this action
  • You can post a link to this action and a link to the Vui Kong’s Story video clip on your Facebook Wall (links below)
  • Consider writing about Youg Vui Kong’s case on blogs
  • You can confirm on which actions you’ve taken

Find out more about the Yong Vui Kong case

A Call for a Moratorium, Mandatory Death Penalty

Vui Kong’s Story

Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign Facebook Group

AIHK Urgent Action for Yong Vui Kong

Friday, June 11, 2010

The dirty secret arrangement between Malaysia and Singapore government

Excerpts of press release by N. Surendran, Malaysian anti-death penalty activist, human rights lawyer

"Today for the first time we've got the legal representative of one of our citizens who is in another country facing death. The representative of that person has come to our country to plead that our country does something to save its citizen.

A large number of Malaysians are arrested under Singapore's harsh drug laws, they are tried, sentence and executed, and the Malaysian government has remained silent.

Ravi, who has fought a heroic battle... managed to get a stay of execution after the clemency petition was rejected, and he remains unsupported by Malaysia or its government. We call for the Malaysian government to speak up for its citizens, and let us save Yong Vui Kong's life.

There seems to be an 'I scratch your back, you scratch my back' arrangement, a dirty secret arrangement between Malaysia and Singapore where I'll do whatever I want with my or your citizens I catch... and hand in hand we'll execute each others' citizens.

The (Singapore) government and the Cabinet abused the clemency petition process. Instead of letting the president decide, the Cabinet usurped his role, so you're talking about a stark illegality in the legal process. If Singapore is not going to back off then Malaysia should consider legal proceedings in this matter. "

Yong Vui Kong finally catches Malaysian media's attention

Yong Vui Kong's counsel, M. Ravi was in Kuala Lumpur for a press conference yesterday (Jun 10) at the office of the Malaysian Bar Council. The press conference was to raise attention through the Malaysian media on Vui Kong's capital case in Singapore.

Among other issues, Ravi pointed out that it was the Singapore Cabinet that was making the decision for presidential clemency, even though it is in fact in the President's authority.

Ravi also mentioned that only three countries in Asia still have laws mandating the mandatory death penalty for traffickers, namely Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Most countries recognise the cruelty of mandatory death penalty and have therefore abolished it.

Malaysian human rights lawyer and anti-death penalty activist Edmund Bon said that the Malaysian government should not remain silent on this subject and should lend a helping hand to assist Yong Vui Kong, a Sabahan.

As of yesterday the Malaysian press have picked up the story and the articles published online can be found below.

Klick4malaysia - Urgent Action Needed for Malaysian Citizen in Singapore (with two videos of the press conference)
Guangming Daily -新加坡販毒判死‧非總統特赦決定‧青年盼政府使權打救
Sin Chew Jit Poh -青年販毒問吊:“新加坡內閣認定須受刑”‧代表律師:只能要求總統特赦
China Press - 大馬青年新國販毒死刑 新國人權律師促馬政府帶上國際法庭聲援死囚
Oriental Daily - 律師冀政府以國家主權說情

Note: Some articles are in Chinese. Translation available with Google.