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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Singapore Executes A Woman For First Time In Almost Two Decades

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Saridewi Djamani was handed a death penalty after being convicted of trafficking 30g of heroin in 2018

Changi prison in Singapore

Singapore has hanged Saridewi Djamani, the first woman to be executed in the city state in almost 20 years, amid an outcry from human rights groups.

The 45-year-old Singaporean national, who was sentenced to death in 2018 for trafficking about 30g of heroin, was executed early on Friday, the Central Narcotics Bureau said.

She is believed to be the first woman executed in Singapore since 2004 when a 36-year-old hairdresser, Yen May Woen, was hanged for drug trafficking, according to the local rights group Transformative Justice Collective.

Saridewi had argued that she was not able to give accurate statements to the police because she was suffering from drug withdrawal at the time. However, this was rejected by a high court judge who found that Saridewi had “at most been suffering from mild to moderate methamphetamine withdrawal during the statement-taking period” and that this had not impaired her ability to give statements.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy, the International Federation for Human Rights and Amnesty International had urged the Singaporean government to halt the execution.

Saridewi is the second person to be executed this week and the 15th since the government resumed executions in March 2022. Executions were paused for two years during the pandemic, since when the city state has carried out an average of one a month, campaigners say. On Wednesday, Mohd Aziz bin Hussain, a 56-year-old Singaporean Malay man, was put to death on drugs-related charges.

Chiara Sangiorgio, an Amnesty International death penalty expert, said this week had “cast a harsh and tragic spotlight on the complete lack of death penalty reform in Singapore”. Amnesty has called on governments, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Narcotics Control Board to “increase pressure on Singapore to end its highly punitive approach to drug control policies”.

Singapore’s government maintains that the death penalty is an effective way of preventing drug-related crime, keeps the city state safe and is widely supported by the public. It also says its judicial processes are fair.

The Central Narcotics Bureau said: “Saridewi was accorded full due process under the law and was represented by legal counsel throughout the process.”

Campaigners dispute that it is a uniquely effective deterrent and say the punishment is disproportionate and ends up targeting the most vulnerable and marginalised. They say prisoners are increasingly representing themselves after their appeals because they cannot access lawyers.

Michel Kazatchkine, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, said the executions were “distressing and shocking”. He said: “This is fundamentally a violation of international human rights law because it is a disproportionate punishment.”

The Transformative Justice Collective, which advocates for reform of Singapore’s criminal justice system, said another prisoner had been given an execution notice for Thursday next week. The man, a former delivery driver, was convicted in 2019 of trafficking about 50g of heroin. He maintained throughout his trial and appeal that he had believed he was delivering contraband cigarettes on behalf of a friend he had owed money, the group said. His appeal was dismissed last year.

Executions notices are normally issued to prisoners about a week in advance. In the run-up to their execution, prisoners are allowed to have visitors daily but are kept behind a glass window and not allowed physical contact with their loved ones. An optional photoshoot, intended to provide a memory for families, can be held in the days before the inmate is killed. Relatives are allowed to bring special clothes for the prisoner to wear.

Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that since the lifting of Covid restrictions, the government and courts had “moved like a machine spinning harder and harder to catch up lost time, determined to apparently empty death row as quickly as possible”. He said: “The bottom line is Singapore is simply underlining how completely out of the international mainstream they are on both the death penalty and human rights.”

The Central Narcotics Bureau said: “Capital punishment is used only for the most serious crimes, such as the trafficking of significant quantities of drugs which cause very serious harm, not just to individual drug abusers but also to their families and the wider society. Capital punishment is part of Singapore’s comprehensive harm prevention strategy which targets both drug demand and supply.”

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement: “Our Government has always believed in doing what is right by Singaporeans. Keeping the death penalty for drug trafficking is in the best interest of our society.”

“Drugs do not only affect the abusers, but can also cause great harm to their loved ones and society as a whole.

The Guardian


  1. Any more info from "Shelby"?

  2. Damn. They fucking did it. They always seem to be immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, or other marginalised groups. Same in China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam. A man with serious learning disabilities was executed a few years ago for agreeing to carry a kilo of Cannabis.

  3. And people think Bukele is tough.

  4. I sympathize with the people forced to do micro traffic but at the same time I live in LA and we could use the death penalty here

  5. “Trafficking 30 grams” ???!!

    Nowadays you’d likely just get 5-10 years max for that in the US… Hell in places like Portland or Seattle, it is just a fine for possession…

    Even California with Prop 47 might let you walk with that much.

  6. I can’t imagine the traumatic headspace a person would be in while posing for photos for family memories, knowing they will be executed in a few days time. “Smile for the camera!” Say cheese. The 100yard stare while forcing a smile. Executed for a tiny 30grams! I’ve had a policeman hand back 5grams of heroin id just bought, he found it in my wallet and while the 2nd policeman was searching my bag on the ground the 1st cop looked at me and without saying anything to his partner folded it back up and tucked it back where he found it, handed my wallet back and said “just take your things and get out of here”. Very reasonable cop.

    1. Ballon head you should of been hung!!!

  7. Texas executes wrongfully convicted individuals, catch up, Singapore!

    1. Negative. Since a change in Texas law wherein a capital life sentence is life without parole, on most capital cases the State waives the death penalty for it is cheaper to imprison for life than the costs associated with the appeals process on a death sentence, so by the time someone takes the gurney journey, they had it coming.

    2. @6:40 must be delusional. Texas last execution was February 2023

  8. Trafficking any kind of drug within Singapore is just asking for trouble. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.


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