One of the most sickening things about the #deathpenalty is how cold and administrative is. I wrote about this in 2017, but have never felt like I've been able to convey the full horror of it: ricemedia.co/culture-life-a… Something that happened last night provides another example...
Last night I received a call from @MRavilaw, the human rights lawyer representing Syed Suhail pro bono. Earlier in the day, Ravi had succeeded in getting an interim stay of execution from the High Court. The news went around social media, to lots of people's relief.
But as I was riding the bus home at the end of the day, @MRavilaw called to say that the prison had *not* confirmed that the execution was on hold, and that Syed appeared to still be under the impression that he was to say his goodbyes and the family to prepare his funeral.
As @MRavilaw says in this Facebook update, when he called the prison care officer (whose job it is to provide emotional support, coordinate visits, etc.) at almost 8pm, he was told that the prison had not received any instructions to put the execution on hold. Image
It was at about 8:45pm that the prison *finally* called Syed's sister and confirmed over the phone that the execution had been put on hold. At that point, no one was able to go to prison to see Syed, so I don't know what and when Syed was told, or how he was feeling.
Imagine the anxiety and emotional distress of this for Syed's family — receiving news about the stay of execution, only to go to the prison and be told that they don't know anything about that. Going through the day unsure of whether they were supposed to prep a funeral, or not.
I at least have been able to hear from Syed's sister. But I can't at all imagine how it must feel for Syed on death row, waiting to hear about whether he will die, or have a reprieve.
When abolitionists say that the #deathpenalty is cruel and inhumane, we aren't just referring to the method of execution itself (there is *no* humane method of executing a human being, by the way, since some people have tried to argue this with me before).
Why did it take the prison so long to confirm that the execution was on hold yesterday? What is their standard operating protocol, and did something go wrong with it yesterday, causing such anxiety?
The petition started by @subhas_music for Syed Suhail now has over 26k signatures — a *huge* difference in response from previous cases I've worked on in different years. Public opinion can shift, things *can* change. Please keep signing and sharing: change.org/p/singapore-an…

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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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