By Editor-Friday, July 28th, 2023.
Singapore has executed by hanging the first woman in almost twenty years for drug trafficking, amid protests from anti-death penalty advocates who claim that capital punishment doesn’t deter the use of or trading in drugs. Her name was Saridewi Binte Djamani.
The bureau said Djamani had been accorded “full due process under the law” and had access to legal counsel throughout the process.
“Saridewi, a 45-year-old Singaporean, was convicted of having in her possession for the purpose of trafficking, not less than 30.72 grammes of diamorphine, or pure heroin (i.e. six packets and seven straws of gross weight not less than 1,084.37 grammes),” read a statement issued by the CNB.
Singapore has hanged 15 people, including foreigners, for drug-related offences since March 2022, when it resumed executions after a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Djamani’s execution proceeded despite protests from human rights groups, including Amnesty International, which argues Singapore’s use of capital punishment for drug offences violates international law and does little to deter drug use.
Saridewi Binte Djamani, 45, was hanged Friday after being convicted in 2018 of possessing “not less than 30.72” grams of heroin, according to Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau.
“The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine trafficked is more than 15 grammes,” the bureau said in a statement. “Thirty-point-seventy-two grammes of diamorphine is more than twice that amount, and is sufficient to feed the addiction of about 370 abusers for a week.”
Despite an appeal and an attempt to get a presidential pardon, Djamani’s punishment was imposed – making her the first woman to be executed in Singapore since Yen May Woen in 2004, also convicted on drug charges.
Singapore argues that its harsh laws help deter drug offenses in the city-state, but anti-death penalty advocates disagree.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, called Singapore’s policies inhumane and its drug law draconian.
“The execution of Saridewi Djamani, the first woman in decades to go to the gallows, shows that this galloping effort to show the government is tough on drugs will spare no one,” he said in a statement emailed to reporters. “The death penalty is an inherently cruel and unusual punishment that should be applied to no one, yet Singapore seems to positively relish these cases to demonstrate how hard they are on drugs.”
Amnesty International’s Chiara Sangiorgio said in a statement ahead of Djamani’s execution that “there is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect or that it has any impact on the use and availability of drugs.”
“The only message that these executions send is that the government of Singapore is willing to once again defy international safeguards on the use of the death penalty,” he said.
Sources: NPR News, CNN, BBC.