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Death Penalty, Singapore's Human Rights

Singapore judiciary rejects Yong Vui Kong’s final appeal against death sentence

Singapore rejects drug mule’s death penalty appeal
AFP, 4 Apr 2011

Yong Yun Leong (L) and Yong Yun Chung (R), the brothers of convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong, leave the High Court with lawyer M Ravi (AFP photo and caption from AsiaOne's edited version of the AFP report after video below)

Singapore’s highest court on Monday affirmed a death sentence imposed on a Malaysian youth convicted of drug trafficking, which could pave the way for his execution by hanging.

It was the final judicial appeal for Yong Vui Kong, 23, against his conviction for smuggling heroin.

“We are unanimous in dismissing this appeal,” said Singapore chief justice Chan Sek Keong, who heads the three-judge Court of Appeal, dismissing the defence’s arguments as “without merit”.

Yong, handcuffed in purple prison overalls and guarded by a dozen policemen, buried his face in his hands after the ruling was announced before being led away by the police.

His two brothers, also in their 20s, were present at the hearing.

Yong was convicted by the High Court in 2008 at the age of 19 of trafficking 47 grams (1.65 ounces) of heroin into Singapore and was given the mandatory death sentence.

Previous appeals to Singapore President S.R. Nathan and to the Court of Appeal had been rejected.

Yong’s lawyer M. Ravi expressed shock at the judgement.

“My heart just bleeds at the inhumanity of the law,” he told reporters after the hearing, adding that he would submit a fresh clemency appeal to Singapore’s president, notwithstanding the failure of his first attempt.

Ravi said Yong would not be executed for six months as the president mulled over the new clemency plea.

Malaysian foreign minister Anifah Aman had weighed in with a letter to the Singapore government in July last year to plead for clemency.

But Jack Lee, assistant professor of law at the Singapore Management University, expressed scepticism about the new clemency plea succeeding.

“The thing is, unless there is some change of circumstance, I can’t see the cabinet changing its mind to advise the president to grant clemency,” he told AFP.

Amnesty International, which has been critical of the wealthy city-state’s use of the death penalty, said in its latest report that Singapore handed down “at least eight death sentences” last year.

“Death sentences continued to be mandatorily imposed in Singapore, mostly for drug-related offences and mainly against foreign nationals,” it said.

In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis.

Singapore officials have defended the use of capital punishment as crucial in the fight against crime.

 

Here’s what appears in AsiaOne’s edited version of the above AFP report,

Singapore rejects drug mule’s death penalty appeal
AFP, Mon, Apr 04, 2011

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s highest court on Monday affirmed a death sentence imposed on a Malaysian youth convicted of drug trafficking, which could pave the way for his execution by hanging.

It was the final judicial appeal for Yong Vui Kong, 23, against his conviction for smuggling heroin.

“We are unanimous in dismissing this appeal,” said Singapore chief justice Chan Sek Keong, who heads the three-judge Court of Appeal, dismissing the defence’s arguments as “without merit”.

Yong, handcuffed in purple prison overalls and guarded by a dozen policemen, buried his face in his hands after the ruling was announced before being led away by the police.

His two brothers, also in their 20s, were present at the hearing.

Yong was convicted by the High Court in 2008 at the age of 19 of trafficking 47 grams (1.65 ounces) of heroin into Singapore and was given the mandatory death sentence.

Previous appeals to Singapore President S.R. Nathan and to the Court of Appeal had been rejected.

Yong’s lawyer M. Ravi expressed shock at the judgement, adding that he would submit a fresh clemency appeal to Singapore’s president, notwithstanding the failure of his first attempt.

Ravi said Yong would not be executed for six months as the president mulled over the new clemency plea.

Malaysian foreign minister Anifah Aman had weighed in with a letter to the Singapore government in July last year to plead for clemency.

But Jack Lee, assistant professor of law at the Singapore Management University, expressed scepticism about the new clemency plea succeeding.

“The thing is, unless there is some change of circumstance, I can’t see the cabinet changing its mind to advise the president to grant clemency,” he told AFP.

Jacob 69er: See timeline of reports/articles/videos on Vui Kong’s case here.

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  1. Pingback: Petition for clemency of Yong Vui Kong denied « Jacob 69er - April 19, 2011

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