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Joint statement on imminent execution of Kho Jabing

CLARIFICATION ADDED 15 May 2016

It has come to our attention that the President, while acknowledging Kho Jabing’s intention to file a fresh clemency petition, has taken the position that his decision to reject the previous clemency petition in October 2015 still stands. It is unclear if he will consider the new clemency petition once it is filed.

The death penalty is an irreversible punishment. A life once taken, cannot be returned. The fact that one High Court judge and two Judges of Appeal have expressed the opinion that the death penalty is not an appropriate punishment for Kho Jabing shows that there continues to be doubt a death sentence is justified in this case. It is on these grounds that we urge the President to grant clemency to Kho Jabing, and commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.

It is of utmost importance that this case not be rushed, and that the forthcoming clemency plea be given due deliberation. We call on the President of the Republic of Singapore to stay the execution scheduled for 20 May 2016 so as to allow a reasonable time for the consideration of Kho Jabing’s fresh clemency petition.

14 May 2016

For immediate release

We, the undersigned, are troubled by the imminent execution of Jabing Kho in Singapore, despite strong concerns over the development of his case. We believe there are strong grounds for President Tony Tan of the Republic of Singapore to grant clemency in this case.

The family of Sarawakian Jabing Kho, 31, received a letter from the Singapore Prison Service on 12 May 2016 informing them that his execution had been scheduled for 20 May 2016. Jabing was convicted of murder in 2011.

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STATEMENT: Grant clemency to Kho Jabing after Court of Appeal ruling

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.

Dying for a certificate

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.

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