#Singapore continues to defend hangings, usually carried out for drug trafficking and murder. Syed Suhail has been scheduled to hang on Friday. In a letter, he said that he will not be able to see his Malaysian relatives due to #COVID19 border closures. vice.com/en_us/article/…
Earlier today, human rights lawyer M Ravi published a letter that Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin had written to him about his imminent execution. #deathpenalty #Singapore Image
Even as the world moves away from the #deathpenalty, #Singapore continues to insist on not just capital punishment but also the #WaronDrugs. From my observation, the majority of death row inmates have been sentenced to hang for drug offences.
Even if we zoom out of the #deathpenalty, drug offences form the top "main offence group" of #Singapore's penal population. The same goes for the remand population (i.e. those waiting trial). ImageImage
As highlighted in this article by @edoardo_liotta, there is a lack of understanding about drugs, and strong stigma and prejudice against drug users and addicts in #Singapore, which present barriers to seeking help. ricemedia.co/current-affair…
Under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations, medical practitioners who treat someone they suspect to be addicted to drugs need to notify the authorities within 7 days. This is, again, a barrier to seeking help — why would someone go to the doctor if the doctor will then report them? Image
Here's a circular that was sent to medical practitioners about using an online system to report people suspected of drug addiction to the authorities. As psychiatrist Dr Munidasa Winslow said in 2017: "It's a no-brainer why people don't seek help." straitstimes.com/singapore/trea… Image
The #Singapore government continues to insist that by retaining the #deathpenalty and this "zero tolerance" stance, we are helping and saving people by deterring drug trafficking and crimes, and making Singapore safer.
But there is *no evidence* that the #deathpenalty works more effectively than any other punishment to deter crime. As far as we know, the #Singapore government has no actual evidence of this either — it's just an assertion that they make.
If #Singapore really wanted to reduce the harm caused by drug addiction, we need more reform in the way we treat drug users and addicts. There have been little tweaks and improvements over the years, but it's not enough.
Hanging Syed Suhail, who was addicted to heroin at the time of his arrest, will not help anyone. Hanging low-level drug pushers and mules and traffickers will not win the #WarOnDrugs. It doesn't help people struggling with addiction when we nab people and hang them.
One other thing that doesn't get talked about as much is the racialised aspect of crime and drug abuse in #Singapore. In 2019, it was reported the majority of drug abusers arrested were Malays: straitstimes.com/singapore/more… Image
But instead of looking at socio-economic factors, the government launched a patronising campaign that racialised drug use, which they proudly called "Dadah itu Haram (Drugs are forbidden)". @heymysara wrote about this here: wethecitizens.substack.com/p/ge2020-hello… Image
If we really cared about drug users and addicts — as we claimed we do, when we say we're hanging traffickers to save them — there are many things #Singapore could be doing. There's plenty of research on drug policy and harm reduction that we could be looking at.
Instead, we continue to cling to cruel and inhumane hangings, repeating unsubstantiated claims about deterrence, acting as if this makes us strong and resolute. At the same time, we bury information on the use of the #deathpenalty, hide death row inmates from public view.
For those of you who would like to write to your elected representatives and members of the #Singapore Cabinet, there's a template here (I didn't write it, thank you @justanotherock for sharing it!) docs.google.com/document/u/0/d…
Thank you @subhas_music for starting this petition calling on the president to grant Syed clemency, or at least a stay of execution. Please sign and share: change.org/p/singapore-an…
I wrote this in July 2019 about the #deathpenalty in #Singapore, particularly for drug offences. It contains more details about how the regime works, with things like the Certificate of Cooperation: newnaratif.com/journalism/pra…
Update! The fight isn’t over, but at least we can breathe a little easier today.

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More from @kixes

26 Jan
Today: A protest by Singaporeans against transphobia in the education system.
They've issued a statement and are using the hashtag #FixSchoolsNotStudents
Within minutes security officers have shown up saying that photos can't be taken and asking them to leave. 2 protesters have left but 3 remain. #FixSchoolsNotStudents
Read 28 tweets
24 Sep 20
I'd like to share the story of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, a young Nigerian footballer.

In 2007, at the age of 21, Tochi was hanged in #Singapore.
Tochi was arrested in Changi Airport in #Singapore on 27 November 2004. He was 18 years old.

He was later charged with importing not less than 727.02g of heroin. His case largely revolved around whether he could rebut the presumption clauses within the Misuse of Drugs Act.
What are these presumption clauses? First: if you have more than 2g of heroin, Section 17 of #Singapore's Misuse of Drugs Act (here: sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/MDA1973#pr…) presumes that you are trafficking the drugs.
Read 23 tweets
23 Sep 20
This was brought to light on Monday. In an @STcom piece on Syed’s hearing, this is what the Ministry of Home Affairs had to say about the correspondence:

Turns out their position is there was no legal prohibition against sending privileged communication to the adverse party. Image
This is the @STcom story I got the screenshot from: straitstimes.com/singapore/cour… I believe the original headline was "Lawyer M Ravi seeks to delay drug trafficker's execution", but the story has since been amended to highlight the government's view/response.
According to Syed, the prison is executing Singaporeans first during #COVID19 since the families of foreigners can't visit. This, @MRavilaw argued, breaches Article 12 of #Singapore's Constitution that says all are equal before the law 'cos it treats lives differently.
Read 6 tweets
22 Sep 20
Some thoughts after observing the hearing for Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin today. Screenshots from my Facebook page since it's long and not particularly conducive to a thread. #deathpenalty #Singapore ImageImageImageImage
And one on what we know about how death row inmates' clemency petitions are considered in #Singapore.

tl;dr We don't know anything Image
Ultimately, I was very glad that the Court of Appeal decided to give both sides time to file further submissions, and that the next hearing will not take place before 7 October, thus giving Syed more time with his family. But these are the points I'm not pondering.
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep 20
Will be in court this afternoon for Syed’s hearing. 30k+ have signed a petition calling for clemency, he received a stay of execution, and the prison sent his privileged communication w/ his lawyer to the prosecution.

There has been no coverage by the local mainstream media.
Here's the @SCMPNews story on the hearing from @deweysim and @jbhavan: scmp.com/week-asia/poli…
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep 20
In 2018, #Singapore Prison Service forwarded 4 letters Syed wrote to his uncle + 1 letter he wrote to his then-DEFENCE COUNSEL to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

At that time, Syed’s capital case was before the Court of Appeal. AGC was the prosecution. wethecitizens.substack.com/p/when-the-pri…
The Community Action Network and #Singapore Anti-#DeathPenalty Campaign have issued a statement: singaporecan.wordpress.com/2020/09/20/que…

There needs to be an independent investigation into and accounting for this clear breach of inmates’ privacy, and in Syed’s case, solicitor-client privilege.
From an August 2020 Court of Appeal judgment, we learn that this wasn’t an isolated case. Another death row inmate, Datchinamurthy, complained that the prison had, w/o consent, forwarded to the AGC documents given to him by his family.

From para 84: supremecourt.gov.sg/docs/default-s…
Read 10 tweets

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