Singapore carries out fifth death penalty in five months
by Steve Suwannarat

After the pandemic, the city-state began to execute people again showing no clemency. A 64-year-old man convicted in 2017 of possession of 33 grams of heroin was the latest offender put to death. Dismissing any criticism, the government claims that the death penalty is a deterrent to drug trafficking.

Singapore (AsiaNews) – Nazeri Lajim, a Singaporean national, was executed today in the city-state after an appeals court rejected his plea for a stay of execution. Until the last moment, protesters asked for an act of clemency.

The 64-year-old man was convicted in 2017 on drug trafficking charges after he was arrested in possession of 33 grams of heroin, which, according to the indictment, was enough to "feed the addiction of 400 abusers for a week”.

Lajim’s is the fifth execution in five months, following two years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This surge in executions confirms the harshness of Singapore's law, particularly towards drug offences, and the intransigence in its application.

The age of the offender was an additional element for opposition by human rights groups.

Similarly, the execution on 27 April of Malaysian Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 13 years after his conviction, sparked intense pressure, from abroad as well, especially because of concerns that he was mentally disabled.

Increasingly, Singaporeans are speaking out and taking action against the excessively repressive law. As in previous occasions, the Singapore government steadfastly defended the use of the death penalty.

In a recent BBC interview, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam defended Singapore’s position, claiming there was “clear evidence that it is a serious deterrent for would-be drug traffickers.”