29 year-Old Indian Origin Man Executed For Drug Trafficking Despite UN Objection

July 14, 2017 16:31
29 year-Old Indian Origin Man Executed For Drug Trafficking Despite UN Objection

29 year-Old Indian Origin Man Executed For Drug Trafficking Despite UN Objection:- Despite calls by the UN and rights groups to stop his capital punishment, a 29-year old Indian-Origin Malaysian man was executed in Singapore for smuggling drugs on Friday.

The victim identified as Prabagaran Srivijayan, has been sentenced to death by a court in Singapore, in 2014, after trying to smuggle diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, into Singapore. In April 2012 at the Woodlands Checkpoint in the main causeway to southern Peninsular Malaysia, Srivijayan was arrested with two bundles of diamorphine weighing 22.24 grams.

His death sentence carried out at Singapore’s Changi Prison Complex, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).

Hidden in the armrest console of the car he was driving into the country from the southern Malaysian city of Johor Bahru, the drug was wrapped in black masking tape. Prabagaran had said he was unaware the two bundles were in his car and claimed trial on the charges of drug trafficking.

Trafficking more than 15grams of heroin into Singapore carries the death penalty. However, Prabagaran’s petition for mercy was unsuccessful. On July 22, he was convicted in the High Court. Court documents said Prabagaran had borrowed the car from a friend to enter Singapore on that day because he could not use his motorcycle. He had been behind in paying his monthly installment and he was afraid that the motorcycle would be repossessed in Malaysia.

Prabagaran, who worked as a shop assistant at a petrol pump station in Malaysia, had come into Singapore that day in order to return his work permit and gate pass to a former employer in Singapore. The prosecution, had argued that Prabagaran was an untruthful witness and that his testimony was “unconvincing, riddled with inconsistencies and cannot be believed” during the trial.

”If the accused (Prabagaran) had truly intended to return his work permit and the gate pass to his former employer, he has not offered any satisfactory explanation why he had to do so several hours before his work shift began,” argued the prosecution.

Prabagaran’s lawyer N Kanagavijayan told the court that his client would be filing an appeal against the conviction. 

On instructions from Srivijayan’s family, Srivijayan’s lawyer, Choo Zheng Xi, on Thursday, asked the Singapore apex court to stay his client’s death sentence on the grounds that his appeal in Malaysia was pending. Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Andrew Phang and Tay Yong Kwang called the attempt to stop Srivijayan’s execution because of proceedings in another country “an abuse of process”.

“The judiciary of each country is entitled to act in accordance with its Constitution and its laws,” a leading news channel quoted Judge Chao as saying.

“No judiciary of one country interferes in the judicial process of another country,” he said.

To initiate proceedings against Singapore in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Srivijayan had a pending appeal before the Malaysian Court of Appeal. The concerns about the fairness of the trial, had been raised by Amnesty International, including the alleged failure of the authorities “to follow up leads and call on key witnesses that would corroborate his version of events”.

To stop the execution of Prabagaran, The United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR) South East Asia Regional office had called on Singapore. It further urged the government to immediately reestablish a suspension on the use of the death penalty.

“Drug-related offences do not fall under the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’. Furthermore, the death penalty is not mandatory for drug-related offences under domestic law,” the OHCHR said.

Srivijayan was accorded full due process under the law, and he was represented by legal counsel throughout the process, the CNB said. It is said that 22.24 grams of diamorphine is equivalent to about 1,853 straws, which is sufficient to feed the addiction of about 265 abusers for a week.

Both the countries, Malaysia and Singapore execute murderers and drug traffickers by hanging, a system which dates back to British colonial rule. The death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime and has rejected calls to abolish capital punishment, maintained Singapore consistently.


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