Angela Stelmakowich – Jul 27, 2022
A 49-year-old man in a Singapore prison since 2015 for trafficking cannabis was put to death this week.
Media reports indicate the Malay man was hanged on Tuesday for the offence.
A tweet from writer, researcher and community organizer Kokila Annamalai noted that confirmation had been received that the man was executed at Changi Prison after earlier being convicted of cannabis trafficking.
Many people who commented on Annamalai’s post voiced frustration.
“Killed for selling the plant my dad grows in his back garden in Canada,” one poster wrote. “I’m hoping that the rise of social media disrupts the Singaporean government’s media stranglehold on narrative and leads to real change,” added another.
Drug trafficking carries a death sentence
According to Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), a government agency, a person convicted of illegally trafficking, importing or exporting cannabis “may face the death penalty,” depending on the amount of drug involved.
The High Commission of Canada in Singapore reports the state’s “drug laws are among the toughest in the world. Penalties for the possession of small amounts of drugs are up to 10 years in jail or fines of up to $20,000 or both.”
Drug trafficking is dealt with even more severely. A mandatory death penalty applies for those convicted of trafficking 15 grams or more of heroin, 30 grams or more of cocaine, 200 grams or more of hashish, 500 grams or more of cannabis and 1,200 grams or more of opium.
According to High Times, Singaporean executions are carried out by “long-drop hanging”. For canings — which are sometimes used for drug offences — a metre-long cane about a centimetre in diameter is employed.
“Singapore’s comprehensive approach to tackling both drug supply and demand has allowed us to remain relatively drug-free,” notes the CNB information.
“Cannabis is clearly addictive and harmful, and there is no scientific evidence of the safety and efficacy of raw cannabis use,” the agency reports. “This supports our position that cannabis should remain an illicit drug. Decriminalization and legalization of cannabis is not the way to go, especially when our drug situation is well under control,” it adds.
Thailand recently became the first country in Asia to legalize growing and selling cannabis for medicinal purposes, even putting in place a plan to distribute 1 million weed plants for free. Per Cannigma, South Korea legalized medical marijuana in 2018.