Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Attendees at an anti-death penalty protest in Singapore on 3 April 2022
By Derek Cai
BBC News, Singapore
Singapore on Friday executed a woman for the first time in almost 20 years, officials confirmed.
Singaporean national Saridewi Djamani, 45, was found guilty of trafficking 30g (1.06oz) of heroin in 2018.
Sheis the second drug convict to be executed this week, after fellow Singaporean Mohd Aziz bin Hussain, and the 15th since March 2022.
Singapore has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, which it says are necessary to protect society.
Singapore law specifies that the death penalty will be imposed on anyone caught trafficking more than 500g of cannabis or 15g of heroin.
Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said in a statement that Saridewi, who was sentenced to death on 6 July in 2018, was accorded “full due process” under the law.
The city’s highest court had dismissed the appeal against her conviction on 6 October last year. A petition for presidential pardon was also unsuccessful, authorities said.
Her execution comes just two days after Aziz was hanged on Wednesday, following his conviction of trafficking 50g of heroin in 2017.
In April, another Singaporean, Tangaraju Suppiah, was executed for trafficking 1kg (35oz) of cannabis that he never touched. Authorities say he co-ordinated the sale via mobile phone.
British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, again criticised Singapore for its executions, saying the death penalty is not a deterrent against crime.
“Small-scale drug traffickers need help, as most are bullied due to their circumstances,” Mr Branson said on Twitter on Thursday.
Saridewi was one of two women on death row in Singapore, according to the Transformative Justice Collective, a Singapore-based human rights group. She was the first woman executed by the city-state since hairdresser Yen May Woen in 2004, the group said. Yen was also convicted of drug trafficking.
Local media reported that Saridewi testified during her trial that she was stocking up on heroin for personal use during the Islamic fasting month.
While she did not deny selling drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine from her flat, she downplayed the scale of those activities, noted judge See Kee Oon.
Authorities argue that strict drug laws help keep Singapore as one of the safest places in the world and that capital punishment for drug offences enjoys wide public support.
But anti-death penalty advocates contest this.
“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,” said Amnesty International’s Chiara Sangiorgio in a statement.
“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,” she said.
Amnesty International noted that alongside China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Singapore is one of only four countries to have recently carried out drug-related executions.