October 25, 2018 / 11:37 AM / in a month

Singapore to hang two drug traffickers amid calls for a halt

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore is due to execute two convicted drug traffickers on Friday after hanging a man on Wednesday for the same offense amid fresh calls for the wealthy state to abolish the death penalty.

Human rights group Amnesty International called on Singapore to follow the example of neighboring Malaysia and end capital punishment.

“Singaporean authorities must halt the imminent executions of Prabu N. Pathmanathan, a 31-year-old Malaysian national, and of another man whose name has not been released,” Amnesty International said in a statement on Wednesday.

“News of these planned executions follow the reported execution of another man today, and that of three men, on 5 October, also for drug-related offences.”

Pathmanathan was convicted of smuggling drugs from Malaysia into Singapore in 2014, according to court documents.

Malaysia’s newly elected cabinet, which took power in May, said this month it would abolish the death penalty by the end of the year.

“I will issue a letter to the Singapore government to urge them to give Prabu a chance,” Malaysian Law Minister Liew Vui Keong told reporters on Wednesday.

Singapore has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world, and its customs forms warn arriving travelers of “death for drug traffickers” in no uncertain terms.

Amnesty International says that 15 countries have laws for the death penalty for drug-related offences.

“But Amnesty International recorded executions for drug-related offences in only four - China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore,” it said.

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs, which run both the Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau and the Singapore Prison Service, could not be immediately reached for comment.

A candlelight vigil, expected to be attended by anti-death penalty activists, will take place later in the day.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Nick Macfie

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