Rights group alleges barbaric, unlawful execution methods in Singapore

Surendran has demanded Singapore halt further executions while it addresses these allegations. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Surendran has demanded Singapore halt further executions while it addresses these allegations. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — Singaporean executors kick and pull on inmates condemned to death by hanging to effectively kill them, Lawyers for Liberty alleged today when warning that Malaysian convicts there were at risk of the cruel punishment.

The rights group representing Malaysians sentenced to die in Singapore further alleged that it has eye-witness testimony from a Singaporean prison official who was willing to testify to this in an “appropriate forum”.

LFL adviser N. Surendran said his group was compelled to release these allegations today after the republic ignored attempts to raise such matters with the country’s officials.

Among others, he said the witness informed LFL that Singapore made its prison officers simultaneously yank on the rope by which condemned inmates are hanged while pulling down on their bodies.

This was compounded by forcibly kicking the back of the inmates’ necks to simulate hanging injuries.

The method is purportedly to ensure the hanging results in a broken spinal cord that would effectively result in death, Surendran said in a statement today that further asserted that such methods were specially taught to Singapore’s prison officials.

“This execution method is unlawful as the mode of execution prescribed by law is hanging by the neck, and not execution by brutal kicking of the neck.

“Every death row prisoner in Changi, including the Malaysians, is in danger of suffering this excruciating death, should the rope break during the hanging,” Surendran said.

Surendran added that executors were also told not to kick more than twice in order to avoid suspicious markings on the condemned inmates’ bodies and ordered not to discuss the alleged methods.

Such techniques were deceptive, unlawful, and in clear violation of Singapore’s constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishments, he said.

The lawyer was also adamant that the alleged execution techniques were known to Singaporean officials including its home minister.

He clarified, however, that LFL did not know for certain how many Malaysians might have experienced such treatment when they were executed in Singapore.

The former Padang Serai MP then demanded Singapore halt further executions while it addresses these allegations and arranges to compensate the families of any who were killed in this alleged fashion.

“We further call upon the Malaysian government to take urgent steps to protect the safety and basic rights of all Malaysian prisoners now on death row in Singapore.”

LFL first alluded to these claims in November, after Singapore proceeded with the execution of Malaysian drug mule Abd Helmi Ab Halim for trafficking 16g of heroin.

Surendran and his group had represented Abd Helmi and clashed repeatedly with Singapore in their bid to prevent the execution.

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