26 Jan 2007

Singapore executes 2 Africans on drug charges despite international clemency appeals


Why didn't we know about Okeke Nelson Malachy, 35?

The Death Penalty in Singapore is still clouded in secrecy...

The Associated PressPublished: January 25, 2007

SINGAPORE: Singapore executed two Africans on drug trafficking charges Friday despite pleas for clemency by Nigeria's president, the United Nations and human rights groups.

Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, 21, was hanged at dawn in the city-state after being convicted of trafficking 727 grams (26 ounces) of heroin — nearly 50 times the 15 grams (0.53 ounces) of the drug that draws a mandatory death penalty in Singapore, the Central Narcotics Bureau said in a statement.

A stateless African named Okeke Nelson Malachy, 35, who was convicted as the person to whom Iwuchukwu was supposed to deliver the drugs, was also executed Friday, the statement said.

About a dozen activists held an overnight vigil outside maximum-security Changi Prison, where the execution was carried out. Just before the hanging, they stood or sat with their heads bowed, holding roses in the flickering glow of candles on the ground around photos of Iwuchukwu and a red-and-white soccer jersey said to belong to him.

Prominent Singapore-based art critic Lee Weng Choy, 43, said he disagreed with Singapore's mandatory death sentence regulation, which he said takes away the discretionary power of the judiciary.

"I also disagree with its justification as a deterrent. The reality is that drug trafficking has not been reduced to zero, neither has drug use," he said at the vigil.

The execution was carried out despite an appeal by Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo, who asked Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier this week to commute the death sentence.

Lee replied Thursday that Iwuchukwu had committed a serious offense under Singapore law and had exhausted all legal options.

"We did not take the decision lightly," Lee wrote in a letter. "I realize that Mr. Tochi's family will find Singapore's position difficult to accept, but we have a duty to safeguard the interests of Singaporeans, and protect the many lives that would otherwise be ruined by the drug syndicates."

Singapore's strict drug laws made international headlines — and triggered an outcry in Australia — in December 2005 when the city-state executed a 25-year-old Australian heroin trafficker despite numerous appeals from the Canberra government.

Singapore has said its tough penalties for drug trafficking are an effective deterrent against a crime that ruins lives, and that foreigners and Singaporeans must be treated alike.

Human rights group Amnesty International says Singapore has the world's highest per capita execution rate. Last week it urged its members to push Singapore's government to grant Iwuchukwu clemency and for a moratorium on all executions in the country.

The United Nations also urged Singapore on Thursday not to execute Iwuchukwu because it would violate international legal standards on the use of the death penalty.

"The standard accepted by the international community is that capital punishment may be imposed only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts," said a statement by Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Iwuchukwu, a footballer, was arrested in November 2004 at Singapore's Changi Airport after arriving from Dubai with 100 capsules containing heroin that authorities estimated to be worth 1.5 million Singapore dollars (US$970,000; €795,930).

At the time of his arrest, Iwuchukwu told narcotics officers the pills were African herbs that he was supposed to give to a sick friend. He also told officers that he came to try out for soccer teams playing in the Singapore League.

Iwuchukwu's family, who live in Nigeria, could not afford to travel to Singapore to see him while he was on death row, said Princewill Akpakpan, a lawyer with the Civil Liberties Organization, Nigeria's largest human rights group.

"The execution will place Singapore in a negative spotlight among civilized nations of the world," Akpakpan said by telephone on Thursday.

I am so angry I have decided to remain silent...


Kenny said...

Have you been to Nigeria? The country is full of scamsters and drugheads. We just did them a favour by ridding them of one.

Il Mango said...

in this case, I find myself in absolute agreement with this blog.
Singapore has strict laws but there were a lot of circumstances which could have been weighed in favour of this poor kid. Even the judge is said to have accepted the argument that he might not have realised that the substance he was carrying was heroin. It is maybe time to amend the law so as to give judges more flexibility when passing sentences.
He was 21 years old and obviously rather ingenuous. All he wanted was to play football...
Shame on Singapore!

Anonymous said...

kednny and il mango, I am afrais you are typical of the stupid cunts who seem to infest this blog. It's interesting to read that the prfesident was given a huge payrise during the time he was deliberating the case of the two nigerians, that is course if the drunken bastard understands the word. I am afraid singapore is a lost cause, but at least the neighours are shsowing spsirit by banning sales of sand, this will of course add massively to the cost of building the two IR's and maybe these crackpot sc schemes will also flounder.

Matilah_Singapura said...



Anonymous said...

PAP = Peoples Action Party

Come on the people of singapore lets see some action 12 brave people at the vigil we just don't give a fuck as a race of people, The evil Lee's leading the blind .The Whole worlds watching .

An African said...

This is absolutely devastating. Africa boycotts Singapore!

Shame on you Singapore!

Anonymous said...

We need democracY!

No democracy, no compassion!

Anonymous said...

sorry to post this information in the wrong place, but please spread the news about the deadly Suvarnabhumi airport...deadly stuctures that are caused by corruption under Thaksin...

Some airlines afraid to use new airport: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2007/01/26/headlines/headlines_30025156.php

Anonymous said...

i think if all countries reasoned like singapore in this matter then the world population would be down to half.... he was just a young guy and they could have at least given him a second chance.... as for the scum bag who thinks they did nigeria a favor by hanging a man u are inhuman no better than the nazis.....how can the world move forward if we always have to play god by making decisions of who lives or dies???

Anonymous said...

Tochi was caught when he was 19. But EVEN if he was guilty of drug trafficking, he should NOT be sentenced to death because he was considered a MINOR. However, the case was only brought up when he was 21. In this respect, it was already UNJUSTIFIED to execute him at all!!!!!

So, Singapore juidicial system is A SHIT system.

Furthermore, the news of his sentenced to death was also announced over the news ONLY after he was hanged.

So, Singapore media is also a SHIT system.

Anonymous said...

AIDS is a deadly disease which is parallel to drugs.

Singapore has so many tourists working as illegal prostitutes who might be AIDS carrier. Shouldn't all these ppl be sentenced to death when caught??

Sg PM replied to Nigerian govt that he is "protecting his own citizens of Sg", may I ask Sg PM, how protected are we from these illegal prostitute who might be AIDS-carriers and do Sg's capital punishment cover in this respect???

Is AIDS as deadly as drugs???

Anonymous said...

"Have you been to Nigeria? The country is full of scamsters and drugheads. "

Does it mean that all the ppl in that country should be condemned?

So, all the Sg are good ppl with no crooks at all?