Showing posts with label Death Penalty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Death Penalty. Show all posts

24 May 2007

Yet Another Hanging - Singapore to hang ‘One Eyed Dragon’ for nightclub murder

The Death Penalty in action again. Can't imagine this case resulting in mass protest against it.

End the Death Penalty Now!

Web posted at: 5/23/2007 8:30:19
Source ::: AFP

Tan Chor Jin, nicknamed “One Eyed Dragon”, arriving at the magistrate’s court in Singapore for his trial last February. He was sentenced to death, yesterday, for killing a nightclub owner in a rare gangland-style shooting in Singapore. (AFP)

SINGAPORE • A man nicknamed “One Eyed Dragon” was sentenced yesterday to hang for killing a nightclub owner in a rare Singapore shooting which the judge likened to an assassination.

Tan Chor Jin, 39, appeared calm and smiled occasionally while the verdict was read.

He was convicted for the murder in February last year of Lim Hock Soon in a case that shocked Singapore, one of Asia’s safest cities.

High Court Judge Tay Yong Kwang said the killing had “the hallmarks of an assured and accomplished assassin.”

Court documents showed Tan, who earned his nickname for being blind in one eye, entered Lim’s flat on February 15 last year.

He tied up Lim’s wife, 13-year-old daughter and domestic helper, looted the family’s valuables and then fired a series of shots into the victim’s face and body.

He fled to Malaysia but was arrested and extradited 10 days later.

Tan represented himself without a lawyer at the trial. After the sentence was handed down, Tan’s only response was to ask the judge for permission to smoke in prison while awaiting his fate.

“They don’t understand what are human rights in the prison, nor allow us to smoke,” Tan said.


8 Mar 2007

Illegal drugs can be harmless, report says

How do you scare a 'drug dealer'?

Thought the following study might have some relevance to a country that hangs drug traffickers. My own personal views aside the least it can do is start a debate about the taboo topic of 'drug-taking'. I once brought the topic of the legalisation of drugs as a policy in Singapore during a conversation, those present shall of course remain anonymous to protect the guilty, but those who argued most vehemently against such a proposal where those who had the greatest insider knowledge and investment in 'the business' - I am not refering to pharmacists.

Threaten to legalise drugs.

Press Association
Thursday March 8, 2007
Guardian Unlimited


An RSA report out today says drugs can be harmless and recommends introduction of drug injecting rooms. Photograph: PA.

Illegal drugs can be "harmless" and should no longer be "demonised", a wide-ranging two-year study concluded today.

The report said Britain's drug laws were "not fit for purpose" and should be torn up in favour of a system which recognised that drinking and smoking could cause more harm.

The RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs ,set up in January 2005, also called for the main focus of drugs education to be shifted from secondary to primary schools and recommended the introduction of so-called "shooting galleries" - rooms where users can inject drugs.

The report, compiled by a panel of academics, politicians, drugs workers, journalists and a senior police officer, also called for the Home Office to be stripped of its lead role in drugs policy.

It recommended the Misuse of Drugs Act be scrapped in favour of a wider-ranging Misuse of Substances Act, and the current ABC classification system be abandoned in favour of an "index of harms".
Current laws, the panel claimed, were been "driven by moral panic" with large amounts of money wasted on "futile" efforts to stop supply rather than going after the criminal networks behind the drugs on British streets.

At the heart of the report was a call for an end to what the panel called the "criminal justice bias" of current policy in favour of an approach that would treat addiction as a health and social problem rather than simply a cause of crime.

to continue reading

25 Jan 2007

UN expert calls on Singapore not to hang Nigerian on drug charges, says breaches rights

As much as I would love to be able to offer hope for all of you who are now experiencing Singapore's 'justice' for the first time, I am unable to offer any.

For those of us who have watched similar mis-carriages of 'justice' in Singapore we know one thing.

They will kill him tomorrow morning, Friday 26th Jan 2007 at 6am.

No requests for clemency will be granted and in the case of a mandatory death sentence there are no legal safe-guards to protect human rights in this land.

Yet again I sit with a heavy heart.

UN News Centre

25 January 2007 – An independent United Nations human rights expert today called on Singapore not to proceed with tomorrow’s planned hanging of a Nigerian for heroin trafficking, charging that the island state’s Government has failed to ensure respect for relevant legal safeguards under international standards.

“It is a fundamental human right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty,” UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston said in a statement, noting that the trial judge ruled that although there was no direct evidence that Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi knew the capsules contained heroin ignorance did not exculpate him.

“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,” Mr. Alston added. “Singapore cannot reverse the burden and require a defendant to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he didn’t know that he was carrying drugs.”

The appeal court rejected the trial court’s suggestion that it was irrelevant whether Mr. Tochi had knowledge of what he was carrying but still upheld his conviction, reasoning that under Singapore law such knowledge is presumed until the defendant rebuts that presumption “on a balance of probabilities” and not merely by raising reasonable doubt.

Mr. Alston also said that Singapore law making the death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking was inconsistent with international human rights standards, because it keeps judges from considering all of the factors relevant to determining whether a death sentence would be permissible in a capital case.

Mr Tochi’s co-defendant, Okele Nelson Malachy of South Africa, was convicted of having abetted Mr. Tochi’s offence and was also sentenced to death. There has reportedly been no date set for his execution, but it would raise similar grave human rights issues, Mr. Alston stressed.

“One of the tasks given to me by the UN Human Rights Council is to monitor states’ respect for those safeguards in order to protect the human rights of those facing the death penalty,” he said. “In the case of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, the Government of Singapore has failed to ensure respect for the relevant legal safeguards. Under the circumstances, the execution should not proceed.”

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid, independent experts who report to the Council.

24 Jan 2007

Obasanjo urges Singapore not to hang Nigerian man

Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:36 AM GMT

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo asked Singapore's government on Tuesday to grant repreive to a 21-year-old Nigerian man due to be executed for drug smuggling.

Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi was arrested at Singapore's Changi airport in November 2004 with 727 grammes of heroin. He is due to be executed on Friday after his appeal to Singapore's president for clemency failed last year.

"It is for the reason of obtaining your kind pardon and clemency for the convicted Nigerian that I write this letter to you ... to earnestly urge you to reconsider the conviction of the Singaporean Court of Appeal and to commute the death sentence to imprisonment," Obasanjo said in a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Obasanjo's appeal came after Saudi Arabia executed a Nigerian man in December for smuggling cocaine into the conservative Muslim kingdom.

Human rights group Amnesty International has also called for clemency for Tochi, saying the judge who convicted the Nigerian "appears to have accepted that he (Tochi) might not have realised that the substance he was carrying was heroin."

The drugs were estimated by the authorities to have a street value of $970,000.

The drug laws of the island nation of 4.4 million people are among the harshest in the world. The death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught with more than 15 grammes of heroin.

Government officials say the location of the city-state close to drug-producing countries forces it to take a tough stance on smuggling.

23 Jan 2007

Action for Tochi

Chee Siok Chin
23 Jan 07

As some of you may have known, 21 year-old Iwuchkwu Amara Tochi, a Nigerian national will be hanged by the Singapore authorities this Friday 26 January 2007.

Our president, Mr. SR Nathan, has refused to grant clemency to this young man. This is perhaps not surprising as Mr. Nathan has never granted clemency to any prisoner on the death row since his presidency in 1999.

However, the greater tragedy in this case lies in the fact that the president will not spare the life of an innocent man. After a 13-day trial, High Court Judge Kan Ting Chui pronounced that "there was no evidence the (Tochi) knew the capsule contained diamorphine". In addition to that the judge had said, "there is nothing to suggest that Smith had told him (Tochi) they contained diamorphine, or that (Tochi) had found that out of his own."

And yet, despite this lack of evidence that Tochi knew that he had drugs on him, the Supreme Court has sentenced him to death. When Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong took over office last year, he had said, "Let me emphasise that the strict, but fair and efficient administration of criminal justice, will remain a key priority...I intend to set up a panel to review how current sentencing and bail guidelines can be further rationalized and improved." Where lies the rationale for a man to be sentenced to death when the CJ's own colleague in the High Court even doubted Tochi knew he had drugs on him?

This cold-blooded and mindless act by the Singapore Government must at least rouse the conscience of the people. If we remain silent, are we not accomplices of this horrible execution? Some of us are moved to act when we witness injustice at its gravest. This is why we have decided to demonstrate our outrage publicly to bring attention to this tragic matter.

Human rights lawyer Mr M Ravi, who has been campaigning tirelessly for Tochi, and I will join a 24-hour hunger strike launched by European Member of Parliament Marco Panella to support the campaign currently taking place in Italy, calling for a worldwide Moratorium on Death Penalty. To sign the Moratorium, please go to:

Mr. Ravi and I will be at Speakers' Corner from 7am on Thursday 25 January and will go on a fast to register our outrage and to keep vigil with Tochi. We will then proceed to the grounds outside Changi Prison after 7pm to continue with this until his execution at 6am on 26 January.

As a mark of support and solidarity for an innocent man whose life will be taken from him in a few days from now, please join us at the Speakers' Corner (Thu, 25 Jan, 7 am–7 pm) and Changi Prison (7 pm onwards).

22 Jan 2007


The High Court in Singapore had imposed Death Sentence on Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi. 19, a Nigerian and Okele Nelson Malachy, 33, who is stateless (from South Africa).

On the 16th March 2006, the Court of Appeal dismissed their appeals. As a last resort, they can file appeal for clemency to the President. It is clear from previous clemency petitions that the President hardly grants any clemency.

In Singapore, "the law presumes that a person caught in possession of prohibited drugs knows that he is in possession of illicit drugs, with the burden of rebutting the presumption on the person charged."

Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi thought that he was carrying African herbs that tasted like chocolate. On 28 November 2004, he was arrested at the Changi Airport transit lounge with heroin. He had with him 100 capsules of heroin weighing about 727.02 grams.

Tochi was arrested for allegedly carrying heroin while Malachy was nabbed in a subsequent police operation after Tochi identified him as one of his companions. The court in Singapore handed the death sentence after a 13-day trial. It is disturbing to note that the learned trial judge himself having raised reasonable doubts proceeded to convict them.

Against Tochi the trial judge Mr.Kan Ting Chiu made the following finding at paragraph 42 of his judgment [2005] SGHC 233:

"There was no direct evidence that he knew the capsules contained diamorphine. There was nothing to suggest that Smith had told him they contained diamorhine, or that he had found that out of his own."

Against Malachy, the trial judge made the following finding at paragraph 61 of his judgment:

"Although there was no direct evidence that the accused knew that the capsules contained drugs, and there is no presumption of such knowledge raised against him…"

18 Jan 2007

Pending Hanging of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in Singapore

Press Message on the Pending Hanging of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in Singapore

It is with great sadness that we compose this press message regarding the death sentence on Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, to be hanged at dawn on 26th January after a lengthy, lonely and soul-destroying imprisonment.

Tochi was arrested for allegedly carrying heroin into Changi airport in November 2004. He was 19 years old when he was arrested.

The court in Singapore delivered the death sentence after a 13-day trial.

Tochi has been waiting in maximum security section of Changi prison from 2004 until today. His family in Nigeria believed until July last year that he was playing football for a Singapore football team.

Tochi was indeed a champion footballer who played in Nigerian state league championships. He claims he was tricked into trafficking drugs to Singapore on the promise of being able to play for a club here.

It is particularly disturbing to note that trial judge himself raised reasonable doubts in Tochi's case, mentioning that it was entirely possible that Tochi did not know he was bringing in drugs to Singapore--before proceeding to convict him and pass the mandatory death penalty. *

At a time when the Singapore prison system has a renewed emphasis upon rehabilitation, and when the Yellow Ribbon campaign asks us to give even seasoned criminals a second chance, can we not find it in our hearts to extend this to a person who--if he indeed is guilty--made a desperate mistake at the age of 19?

The death sentence for drug trafficking in Singapore continues to be "mandatory", which means that judges are not able to take into significance and mitigating circumstances (such as the age and general naivity of the accused) when passing their verdict.

And at a time when even the hangings of persons responsible for mass killings and genocide, such as Saddam Hussein and his cronies are being regarded with disgust by the world at large; are seen as reproducing the criminal cruelty of the original perpetrators, is it not time that we in Singapore reconsider our stance on the repeated, mandatory hanging of small-fry drug mules?


Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign

* Tochi was arrested in Changi Airport in November 2004. He claims he was carrying herbal medicine for a third party, at the behest of his "friend", Mr Smith. According to Tochi, Mr Smith befriended him months earlier and advised him to approach football clubs in Singapore.

Against Tochi, the trial judge, Mr Kan Ting Chiu, made the following finding at paragraph 42 of his judgment [2005] SGHC 233: "There was no direct evidence that he knew the capsules contained diamorphine. There was nothing to suggest that Smith had told him they contained diamorphine, or that he had found that out of his own."

The Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) comprises a concerned group of Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds who have come together over the issue of the Death Penalty. Through a series of debates and events we hope to foster a public debate on the practice of capital punishment in Singapore and throughout the world.