Category Archives: News Updates

#SaveJabing: “The sentence of death should stand.”

I am directed to refer to the petition for clemency for Kho Jabing and to inform you that the President, after due consideration of the petition and on the advice of the Cabinet, has decided that the sentence of death should stand.

Yours faithfully,
— — —
Principal Private Secretary
To the President

This is how a clemency petition is rejected. This is how a family, so fearful yet hopeful, is told that their loved one is going to die.

Jumai Kho folded the letter carefully and slid it back into its envelope. “When can we see Jabing?” she asked in Malay.

Continue reading #SaveJabing: “The sentence of death should stand.”

Urgent support needed for Kho Jabing and family

The news hit us like a ton of bricks. We’d been waiting for months, through SG50 celebrations to the hectic days of the general election to the post-Polling Day lull. And although we had strong suspicions of what the answer would be, the confirmation came as a shock. 

On 22 October we found out that Kho Jabing’s clemency appeal had been rejected. President Tony Tan, acting on the advice of the Cabinet, would be continuing his predecessor’s practice of not granting any pardons to any death row inmate. (The last clemency granted was in 1998.)

Jabing, now 31, was first sentenced to death in 2010 under the mandatory death penalty after a 2008 robbery and assault of construction Cao Ruyin resulted in Cao’s death. Amendments to the mandatory death penalty allowed his death sentence to be set aside in favour of life imprisonment with 24 strokes of the cane. But the prosecution appealed, and the Court of Appeal bench sentenced him, once again, to death. The decision was not unanimous: three judges decided that the death penalty was appropriate, two disagreed.

Continue reading Urgent support needed for Kho Jabing and family

High Court Re-sentences Second Drug Offender Under New Law

Choo Han Teck JDeath row inmate Subashkaran Pragasam has had his death sentence substituted with a sentence of life imprisonment with 15 strokes of the cane by the High Court this morning.

He is the second drug offender to have his previous sentence of death retrospectively reviewed under the amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, which took effect in January 2013. He was previously convicted by the High Court of trafficking 186.2 grams of heroin back in October 2011 along with his co-accused Mervin Singh. Both men filed appeals against their convictions, but only Mervin succeeded in obtaining an acquittal from the Court of Appeal.

However, in between their conviction and the outcome of the appeal the law was amended to allow the Court discretion in sentencing drug offenders who have been found guilty of a capital charge to life imprisonment with caning instead of the death penalty if they are found to have their involvement limited to only being a ‘courier’ and have been certified by the Prosecution to have cooperated with the authorities substantively in disrupting drug trafficking activities.

In September 2013, the Attorney General’s Chambers issued a statement saying that they would certify to the Court that Subashkaran had ‘substantively assisted the authorities in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore’. They also announced that they would not be seeking the death sentence if the Court also finds that he meets the ‘courier’ requirement.

In Court, Subashkaran’s lawyer, Mr Tan Chuan Thye, submitted that because his client’s involvement in the criminal offence went no further than being in the lift with the drugs and then leaving the package for another person’s collection, it brings  Subashkaran within the definition of a ‘courier’ under the new Misuse of Drugs Act provisions. The Prosecution declined to make any submissions on the matter.

After hearing both parties, Justice Choo Han Teck ruled that Subashkaran had met both requirements of the new law and he therefore exercised his discretion and substituted Subashkaran’s previous death sentence with one of life imprisonment with 15 strokes of the cane.

Photo: Supreme Court Singapore

Article: Priscilla Chia and Damien Chng