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Singapore hangs man for trafficking 1kg of marijuana | Death Penalty News

Tangaraju Suppiah’s family has asked for clemency, saying he does not have enough legal counsel or translators.

Singapore hanged Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, who was convicted in 2018 of trafficking more than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of marijuana, despite last-minute calls for clemency from his family and activists.

His family said they had obtained Tangaraju’s death certificate, anti-death penalty activist Kirsten Han wrote on Twitter.

A spokesman for the country’s prison service told AFP that the sentence was being served at Changi Prison in the east of the island.

Tangaraju Suppiah was sentenced to death in 2018 for abetting the attempted trafficking of slightly more than 1kg of marijuana. A judge found the phone number he was using was connecting with traffickers trying to smuggle drugs into Singapore.

Tangaraju’s family and activists argue that the 46-year-old did not receive adequate legal counsel and was denied access to a Tamil interpreter when questioned by police.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, deplored the execution and said the evidence against Tangaraju was “far from clear-cut — because he never had actual exposure to the marijuana, was questioned by police without a lawyer, and was asked to got one”.

It was the first execution in Singapore in six months after 11 last year.

A growing number of Singaporeans have expressed concern about the use of the mandatory death penalty in drug cases, with last year’s hanging of Nagaenthran Dharmalingam sparking rare protests in the tightly controlled city-state.

Malaysia recently passed legal reforms that removed the mandatory death penalty for crimes including drugs and gave judges discretion in determining sentencing.

Singapore has argued its tough stance is a deterrent to drug trafficking.

Countries that retain the death penalty can only use it for the most serious crimes, which does not include drug crimes, the United Nations says. On Tuesday, it urged Singapore to halt Tanagarju’s execution.

“Singapore’s continued imposition of the death penalty for drug possession is a human rights atrocity that unnerves much of the world and casts doubt on whether the image of a modern, civilized Singapore is a mirage,” said Robertson of Human Rights Watch.

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