Singapore rebukes UN over comments on cannabis execution

  • Singapore said the UNHCHR’s statement ‘glossed over the serious harms that drugs cause’ to its society
  • The human rights body had earlier urged the government to ‘urgently reconsider’ the execution of Tangaraju Suppiah, who was hanged for trafficking cannabis


The South China Morning Post

A recent statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Singapore’s death penalty for drug offences “glossed over the serious harms that drugs cause”, said the country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on Friday.

“This is regrettable,” said the mission, adding that countries have the sovereign right to choose the approach that best suits their own circumstances.

The UN statement from the spokesperson for the High Commissioner for Human Rights was published on April 25, a day before death row convict Tangaraju Suppiah was set to be hanged for trafficking cannabis.

The statement urged the government to “urgently reconsider” the execution and expressed “concerns around due process and respect for fair trial guarantees”.

Singapore said on Friday that people who are sentenced to capital punishment in the city state are accorded full due process under the law.

Tangaraju was tried in the High Court and convicted of abetting the trafficking of about 1kg of cannabis before being sentenced to capital punishment. His appeal against his conviction and sentence was later dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

“Throughout the process, Tangaraju had access to legal counsel,” said Singapore’s Permanent Mission to the UN.

Singapore’s law provides for the death penalty if the amount of cannabis trafficked is more than 500g. Tangaraju, a Singaporean, had his capital sentence carried out on Wednesday morning.


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