Sunday, the family of a Singaporean man who is going to be killed next week for having a kilogram of cannabis asked the government to spare his life and ask for a new trial.
Tangaraju Suppiah, who was 46 at the time, was sentenced to death in 2018 for working with others to smuggle drugs. The Court of Appeal has confirmed his death sentence, which will be carried out on Wednesday.
“We don’t feel like my brother’s trial was fair… At a news conference, his sister Leelavathy Suppiah told reporters in Tamil, “I have faith that the president will read all of our petitions.”
“Ever since he was young, he’s been kind and liked by everyone, and he’s never done anything bad to anyone,” she said, choking back tears. “He’s given up everything to help his family.”
It will be the first time Singapore has killed someone in six months.
Tangaraju was found guilty in 2017 of “aiding in the trafficking of 1,017.9 grams (35.9 ounces) of cannabis” by taking part in a plot to do so. This is twice the amount required by Singapore’s strict drug rules to get the death penalty.
In many places around the world, like neighboring Thailand, weed is no longer illegal, and rights groups are putting more and more pressure on Singapore to get rid of the death penalty.
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The tweet below verifies the news:
SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man is scheduled to be hanged next week for conspiring to smuggle a kilogram of cannabis, rights groups said, in the city-state's first execution in six months. https://t.co/f9vhllleg5 pic.twitter.com/6R9Mzd5veT
— Bangkok Post (@BangkokPostNews) April 21, 2023
At the news conference, family, friends, and relatives signed petitions, and organizers said they would take the petitions to the president’s office.
Family members and people who work for human rights say that there were holes in the case and that Tangaraju never touched the drugs. They also say that he was questioned by police without a lawyer and that he was not given a Tamil translator when his first police statement was being recorded.
Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau said he “had access to legal counsel throughout the process” and that the judge thought it was “disingenuous” because Tangaraju admitted he hadn’t asked for a translator for any of the other statements.
After a break of more than two years, Singapore went back to putting people to death by hanging in March 2022.
Last year, eleven people were put to death for drug crimes.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was one of the people who were hanged. His death caused outrage around the world, including from the United Nations and the British businessman Richard Branson, because he was thought to have a mental condition.
Tangaraju’s niece, Subhashini Ilango, who is 26 years old, said that her uncle was strong and that he was “ready” for Wednesday, but that his death will be unfair.
“But he thinks God will save him.”
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