Press Statement

Disclosure of the brutal & unlawful hanging methods in Changi prison – brutal kicks inflicted to snap prisoners’ necks

16 January 2020


In November last year, we had revealed to the public in this country that brutal and unlawful methods were being used to execute prisoners in Singapore’s notorious Changi prison. This was of importance here, as many Malaysians are on death row in Changi prison, mainly being convicted drug mules.


We had also written to the Singapore authorities and informed them that we are prepared to meet them and handover the evidence in our possession.


However, the Singapore government has met our disclosures with deafening silence. Significantly, they have also not denied our allegation of brutality in carrying out hangings, which has been widely reported.


In the circumstances, we are compelled to disclose some details of the brutal hanging method, in order that the ensuing public scrutiny will bring to an end these methods.


We received this information from a Singapore Prison Services (SPS) officer who had served at the execution chamber in Changi prison, and himself carried out hangings.


This officer is prepared to come forward and testify at the appropriate forum. His evidence follows below:


He and other prison officers were instructed to carry out the following brutal procedure whenever the rope breaks during a hanging, which happens from time to time.


a) The prison officer is instructed to pull the rope around the neck of the prisoner towards him.
b) Meanwhile, another prison officer will apply pressure by pulling the body in the opposite direction.
c) The first officer must then kick the back of the neck of the prisoner with great force in order to break it.
d) The officers are told to kick the back of the neck because that would be consistent with death by hanging.
e) The officers are told not to kick more than 2 times, so that there will be no tell-tale marks in case there is an autopsy.
f) Strict orders are also given not to divulge the above to other prison staff not involved in executions.


We have been informed that prison officers were given special training to carry out the above brutal execution method.


This execution method is unlawful as the mode of execution prescribed by law is hanging by the neck, and not execution by brutal kicking of the neck.


Every death row prisoner in Changi, including the Malaysians, are in danger of suffering this excruciating death, should the rope break during the hanging.


It is particularly disturbing that this is being done surreptitiously, with specific measures adopted to ensure that nothing incriminating is revealed during any subsequent autopsy. This is blatant deception and illegality by the Singapore authorities.


It is in flagrant breach of Article 9 of the Singapore Constitution, the effect of which is to prohibit cruel and unusual punishments.


This could not have been done without the knowledge and approval of the Home Minister and government. Quite clearly, the Republic of Singapore has been knowingly carrying out executions by methods prohibited by both Singapore law, as well as international law.


At this point, we cannot say how many Malaysians or other nationals have been executed in Changi prison by this horrendous method. Only the Singapore government has that information.


We call upon the Singapore Government to consider the following steps:


i) To immediately impose a moratorium on all executions in Singapore pending investigations or a Commission of Inquiry into this matter.
ii) To handover a copy of the findings to Malaysia, many of whose citizens have been executed in Changi or are facing execution.
iii) To reveal the number and identities of Malaysian prisoners who have been executed using this brutal method in Changi.
iv) To agree to compensate families for the unlawful execution of their loved ones.


We further call upon the Malaysian government to take urgent steps to protect the safety and basic rights of all Malaysian prisoners now on death row in Singapore.


Issued by,
N Surendran
Lawyers for Liberty