We are disappointed by the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss Kho Jabing’s motion to set aside his death sentence, but respect the Court’s decision on the matter.
We are of the view that there are compelling reasons for Kho Jabing to be granted clemency. Most importantly, two out of three judges who heard the prosecution’s appeal for the death sentence thought that Jabing did not deserve the death penalty. If we include the High Court judge who originally re-sentenced Jabing to life imprisonment with caning, a total of 3 judges agreed that the death sentence was not warranted in this case. In such situations, a wrongful execution is a real danger, and it is crucial that we err on the side of caution. The death sentence is, after all, final and irreversible.
The power to remedy this potential miscarriage of justice lies with the President, in accordance with Cabinet’s advice. We strongly urge both the President and the Cabinet to grant Kho Jabing clemency and substitute his death sentence with a sentence of life imprisonment.
By Kirsten Han
The road stretched ahead of us, curving gently along the private grounds of the Istana. It was hot and muggy, and the sky clouded over with an ominous grey as we walked from the main gate of the president’s official residence to the side gate along Cavenaugh Road. One large, heavy raindrop fell. Then a drizzle. Then it started to pour, and we were only halfway there.
Families of death row inmates are allowed to write and submit their own petition letters for clemency for their loved ones. Over the past five years my colleagues in the anti-death penalty campaign and I have accompanied families to the gates of the Istana – which houses the offices of both the president and the Cabinet – to personally submit these written pleas.
Continue reading Dying for a certificate
In June this year, We Believe in Second Chances submitted our individual report to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as part of the stakeholder’s report that will be taken into consideration during the Universal Periodic Review which Singapore will be undergoing in January, 2016.
Our report provides a statistical overview of the death penalty regime since the amendments were brought into force in 2013. Various problems with the death penalty regime such as the lack of a statutorily prohibition against the execution of the mentally ill and the lack of sufficient notice given before the execution were highlighted.
The following recommendations were made:
- Recommendation 1: The number of offences punishable with death should be reduced as far as possible. The state should take concrete steps towards abolition of the death penalty.
- Recommendation 2: The MDP should be removed for all offences, and judges be given full discretion in deciding whether to impose the death sentence, as an interim step towards abolition of the death penalty.
- Recommendation 3: The execution of those who are mentally ill at the time of execution should be statutorily prohibited.
- Recommendation 4: The Cabinet should be statutorily or constitutionally required to consider the offender’s personal representation in deciding whether to grant clemency.
- Recommendation 5: The government should:
- Make available statistics and other factual information regarding the death penalty as stated in the accepted recommendation during the last UPR; and
- Facilitate independent criminological studies on the deterrent effect of the death penalty compared to alternative punishments such as life imprisonment.
- Recommendation 6: The government should provide at least 2 months of advanced notice to inmates and their families before executions.
Our report can be accessed here: WBSC_INDIVIDUAL ORGANIZATION REPORT (UPR)