Singapore denies Malaysian prisoners targeted for death, after four more to hang next

Malaysian inmate on death row in Changi Prison P. Pannir Selvam recently received a last-minute reprieve. — Picture courtesy of Pannir Selvam’s family
Malaysian inmate on death row in Changi Prison P. Pannir Selvam recently received a last-minute reprieve. — Picture courtesy of Pannir Selvam’s family

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has denied accusations that its government is “preparing for an execution binge”, after lawyer N. Surendran revealed that four Malaysians are part of the 10 on death row whose clemency were rejected.

In a statement reported by Singapore’s Straits Times (ST), the ministry said that any accusation that Malaysian prisoners were targeted were “baseless”, insisting that its law “apply equally” to local and foreign offenders.

It also said that each petition for clemency was considered “on its own merit”.

In addition, it said that its president acted on its Cabinet’s advice in not exercising the power to grant clemency.

Yesterday, Surendran said four Malaysians were among 10 on Singapore’s death row scheduled to be executed after their clemency petitions failed.

The advisor for Malaysia human rights group Lawyers for Liberty — part of a legal team acting to save the life of another Malaysian inmate in Changi Prison P. Pannir Selvam who recently received a last-minute reprieve — sought to highlight the shocking wave of clemency rejections by the Singapore government.

He said four of the 10 prisoners are Malaysian men convicted of drug-related offences, naming them as Datchinamurthy Kataiah, Gobi Avedian, Abdul Helmi Ab Halim and Rahmat.

Explaining the process in Singapore, Surendran said the Singapore government’s rejection of a clemency petition from a prisoner who had been sentenced to death “is usually followed soon after by the prisoner’s execution”.

Saying that Malaysians form the largest group of foreign nationals in Singapore’s Changi prison now facing execution, Surendran urged the Malaysian government to urgently speak to Singapore on behalf of the four who are facing imminent execution.

Surendran described the large and sudden number of clemency rejections as “unprecedented and shocking”.

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