Singapore will be hanging a woman on Friday, the first in 19 years

Citizens and foreigners convicted of trafficking more than 500 grams of cannabis and 15 grams of heroin face the mandatory death penalty


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Published: Thu 27 Jul 2023, 3:44 PM

Singapore executed a man Wednesday for drug trafficking and is set to hang a woman on Friday — the first in 19 years — prompting renewed calls for a halt to capital punishment.

Saridewi Djamani, a 45-year-old Singaporean woman, is due to be hanged on Friday after she was convicted and sentenced in 2018 for trafficking around 30 grams of heroin, the group and other human rights organizations said. Han said the last woman known to have been hanged in Singapore was 36-year-old hairdresser Yen May Woen, also for drug trafficking, in 2004.

Mohammed Aziz Hussain, 56, was hanged at Singapore's Changi Prison on Wednesday and has been buried, said activist Kirsten Han of Transformative Justice Collective, which advocates for abolishing the death penalty in Singapore. A citizen of the city-state, he was sentenced to death in 2018 for trafficking around 50 grams of heroin, Han said.

“Singaporean authorities must immediately stop these blatant violations of the right to life in their obsessive enforcement of misguided drug policies,” Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary-general of the International Federation of Human Rights, said in a statement.

If Djamani's is executed as planned, Singapore will have executed 15 people for drug offences since it resumed hangings in March 2022, an average of one execution every month, Transformative Justice Collective, Amnesty International and seven other groups said in a joint statement.

Anyone — citizens and foreigners alike — convicted of trafficking more than 500 grams of cannabis and 15 grams of heroin faces the mandatory death penalty.

Human rights groups, British business mogul Richard Branson and the United Nations have urged Singapore to halt executions for drug-related offenses as increasing evidence shows the death penalty is ineffective as a deterrent. But Singapore authorities insist that all prisoners get due process of law and that capital punishment remains key to helping halt both drug demand and supply.

The groups said Singapore is out of step with the global trend of more countries moving away from capital punishment. Neighbouring Thailand has legalized cannabis while Malaysia ended the mandatory death penalty for serious crimes this year. The groups urged Singapore to halt all executions and instead pursue effective measures to humanely address drug trafficking in the country.


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