Press Statement

Four Malaysian citizens face imminent execution in Changi prison; Singapore must halt this serial hanging

12 July 2019


We have received disturbing information on the fate of death row prisoners at Singapore’s Changi prison.

We can confirm that over the past week up to 10 prisoners have had their clemency petitions rejected by the President of Singapore. This is a record number. We believe the actual number of rejections may be even higher than the information we have received so far.

Of these 10 prisoners, 4 are Malaysian citizens convicted for drug-related offences. The 4 Malaysians are as follows:
i) Datchinamurthy a/l Kataiah
ii) Gobi a/l Avedian
iii) Abdul Helmi bin Ab. Halim
iv) Rahmat

In Singapore, the rejection of clemency petition is usually followed soon after by the prisoner’s execution. Hence, it is probable that these prisoners will be executed within weeks from now.

The large and sudden number of clemency rejections are unprecedented and shocking. It indicates that Singapore is preparing for an execution binge, in total disregard of international legal norms and decent world opinion.

Singapore is doing so despite irrefutable evidence that hanging drug mules does not deter drug trafficking syndicates.

The large and unusual number of simultaneous clemency rejections also raises serious questions as to whether each prisoner’s case was duly considered by the Cabinet and President. It is the constitutional right of each prisoner that their clemency petitions be considered adequately, properly and in accordance with established legal principles.

The right of the prisoners to a proper consideration of their clemency petitions has already been jeopardised by the public statements made by Singapore Home Minister K Shanmugam on 24th May 2019. Shanmugam had said, “how do we go easy on Malaysians in the face of these statistics”, and “it is simply not doable to keep asking Singapore not to carry out the penalties imposed by the courts”.

Shanmugam’s statements above suggest that Malaysian prisoners are being targeted, and that the government has already decided not to spare any drug offenders from execution. This is illegal, as each clemency petition must be considered upon its individual merits.

We urge the government of Singapore to halt these potentially illegal and unconstitutional executions and impose a moratorium upon all executions pending a thorough review of all the clemency rejections.

We also urge the Malaysian government to make urgent and necessary representations to Singapore on behalf of the 4 Malaysian citizens facing imminent execution. The Malaysians form the largest group of foreign nationals now facing execution in Changi.

Released by:

N Surendran

Lawyers for Liberty