Two student societies affiliated with the University of Oxford organised a public vigil to commemorate the life of a man who received the death penalty in Singapore on drugs charges, as well as others persecuted using capital punishment.
On 26th April, Singapore hanged Tangaraju Suppiah for “conspiracy to traffic” around 1kg of cannabis from Malaysia to Singapore in 2013.
The country’s stringent drug laws have resulted in 11 people being put to death on drugs charges in the last year.
This happened even as campaigners continue to argue that they are not subject to fair trials or legal representation. The UN’s Human Rights Office also called on Singapore to “urgently reconsider” the execution, arguing that the death penalty violated international norms.
Oxford Tamil Society (@oxfordtamils) stated that Suppiah had “never seen or touched” the cannabis he was convicted of smuggling, and that the case breaches international human rights treaties.
They also noted that Suppiah did not have access to a Tamil translator when he was interrogated.
The Oxford Amnesty International Society and Oxford Tamil Society joined together to organise the vigil, which took place at the Radcliffe Camera.
“They Killed Him” QR code posters have also been placed across various locations in Oxford to raise awareness of injustice in Singapore, and the continued persecution of Tamils globally.
The Society commented further: “Oxford Tamil Society asks why poor people trapped in a cycle of structural abuse are punished by death, but alleged war criminals evade justice”. They emphasised that the diaspora “celebrate our pan-Tamil identity” at this time.