The court in Singapore has imposed the death penalty on two Africans for violation of prohibited drugs. The two, namely Iwuchuku Amara Tochi (19) and Okele Nelson Malachy, were arrested on 27 November 2004 at the Changi Airport in Singapore.
Tochi was arrested for allegedly carrying heroine drugs with him while Malachy was nabbed in a subsequent police operation after Tochi identified him as one of his companions. The court in Singapore handed the sentence on them reportedly after concluding its 13-day trial.
Singapore is one of the many countries in Asia who have not yet abolished or repeal capital punishment in their justice system. The death penalty, just like torture, is considered as a form of "cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment". It is a violation of a person's right to life as guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of this right to life.
In May 2005, a father of two children was hanged amidst the appeals from various human rights organization, including the Think Centre, asking clemency to save his life. The groups have been asking for jail terms and rehabilitation instead. There are number of prisoners, including foreign nationals, facing death in Singapore however, the government has continued carrying out punishment instead of addressing these problem.
Think Centre's call to right to life in connection with capital punishment is guided by the desirability of abolition of the death penalty which has been expressed on numerous occasions by the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Committee, the Economic and Social Council and Security Council [in its resolutions 808 (1993) of 22 February 1993 and 955 (1994) of 8 November 1994]
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirms the right of everyone to life, the abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of the right to life. The right to life is also defended by article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and articles 6 and 37 (a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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Singapore: Calls for immediate moratorium on the death penalty