Singapore Eases Death Penalty in Some Drug Cases

The parliament of Singapore has approved legislation abolishing mandatory death sentences in some drug trafficking cases. The action came last Wednesday, according to a press release from the Singapore Attorney-General's Chambers.

Singapore skyline (wikitravel.org)
Under the reform, judges will be able to commute some death sentences to sentences of life in prison. Before, judges were forced to impose the death penalty on persons trafficking drugs above certain specified quantities.

The reform will allow judges to avoid imposing the death penalty only if specified conditions are met. Those conditions are if the defendant was no more than a drug courier and prosecutors certify that he "has substantively assisted the Central Narcotics Bureau to disrupt drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore, or the accused proves that he was suffering from such abnormality of mind that it substantially impaired his mental responsibility for committing the offense."

While human rights groups have called for the abolition of the death penalty in Singapore, the government there has called it a deterrent to serious crime. According to Harm Reduction International's 2010 report, The Death Penalty for Drug Offenses, Singapore is one of the states with a "high commitment" to the death penalty for drug offenses, meaning not only does it have the death penalty on the books, but it uses it. Other countries with a "high commitment" to the death penalty for drug offenses are China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The Attorney-General's Chamber, which oversees all criminal prosecutions in the East Asian city-state, said that 34 people are currently on death row for either murder or drug offenses, although it didn't specify how many were from which category. All of those on death row can now appeal their sentences, the prosecutor's office said.

Singapore
Singapore
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Such little respect for human

Such little respect for human life. Never in my life will I find myself in Singapore.

Not that long ago

Since people who sold drugs here were considered the same as murderers.I have no memory of a death sentence for trafficking here but wouldn't be surprised if there was one or two.I remember when there was no parole for drug offenses(heroin)in Canada.I have personally taken part in the dismantling of two separate attempts by the BC government to criminalize addiction.They wanted to scoop us all up and then incarcerate us for what?Even they never gave a cohesive answer to that one.While it's a relief to see that even the red chinese are developing a conscience,I wouldn't feel too superior.We still have a very well funded prohibition and draconian sentencing that steals the lives away from people who are the least able to deal with such stress.Or force them into unwanted treatment with little chance of success.We have a long way to go ourselves.

The war on terrorism has

The war on terrorism has brought with it warrantless surveillance, lawless searches and seizures, a growth in bureaucracy, a militarization of domestic policing, and serious attacks on the due process rights of criminal suspects.

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