Press Statement

Singapore must halt hanging of Malaysian Abd Helmi Ab Halim at dawn on Friday

19 November 2019


Malaysian citizen Abd Helmi bin Ab Halim is to be hanged at Singapore’s notorious Changi prison on Friday, 22 November 2019. Helmi was convicted and sentenced to death for allegedly trafficking in 16.56 grams of diamorphine on 24 March 2017.

Helmi, aged 36, is from Johor and is married with children. Helmi has consistently denied any knowledge of the drugs he is alleged to have been carrying.

Once again Singapore is preparing to execute an alleged drug mule, while the drug kingpins continue to operate with impunity.

It is highly improbable that our citizen Helmi received a fair trial in Singapore. In the Singapore legal system, an unusually high proportion of those charged for drug trafficking are eventually convicted. This itself suggests a legal system biased against the accused in drug trafficking cases. Similarly, in communist China, those who are charged have no chance of acquittal.

It is also an internationally known fact that Singapore does not have an independent judiciary; their courts are little more than a subservient arm of the PAP government. As the New York Bar Association reported in 1990, Singapore judges are kept ‘on a short leash’. Further, remarks made in May 2019 at a Narcotics seminar by Singapore Home Minister K Shanmugam clearly indicate that Malaysian citizens have long been targeted. In these circumstances, could Helmi have received a fair trial?

The imposition of the death penalty for drug crimes has been declared by the UN to be in violation of international law and amounts to unlawful killing. Recognising this, Malaysia has declared a moratorium on executions, pending abolition of the death penalty for drug offences. However, in defiance of these international legal norms, Singapore continues to brutally execute low-level drug mules.

We urge the government of Singapore to comply with international law, halt the hanging of Abd Helmi and review the imposition of the death penalty for drug crimes. We also urge the Malaysian government to make urgent representations to Singapore to save the life of this Malaysian citizen.


Issued by,
N Surendran
Lawyers for Liberty