Kalwant Singh, an Indian-origin Malaysian drug trafficker, was executed in Singapore on Thursday after a top court rejected his last-minute effort to escape the gallows, over two months after authorities hanged a mentally challenged Indian-Malaysian drug trafficker.
Singh, 31, was arrested in Singapore in 2013 for possessing 60.15 grams of diamorphine including trafficking 120.9 grams of the substance. He was convicted in 2016 and had been on death row since then.
The authorities in Singapore reportedly issued on June 30 the execution notice against Singh for the sentence to be carried out on July 7. A group of human rights activists gathered for a candlelight vigil in front of the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday in an attempt to stop the execution.
His execution was confirmed by Singaporean human rights activist Kirsten Han, Malaysian newspaper The Star reported on Thursday. Apart from Singh’s execution in Changi Prison in Singapore, Norasharee Gous, a Singaporean national, was also hanged for drug trafficking.
“Kalwant’s family are still at the prison. I am on my way to Norasharee’s funeral,” Han said, noting that Singh’s family were handed his belongings and death certificate, the report said. I am sad to be able to confirm the executions of both Kalwant Singh and Norasharee bin Gous. Both families have been handed their belongings and death certificates. Kalwant’s family are still in prison; I am on my way to Norasharee’s funeral, Han said in a tweet.
Singh filed a last-minute appeal on the eve of his execution on grounds that he was a mere courier and that he had cooperated with police, but it was rejected by the court. On April 27, Singapore executed 34-year-old Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a mentally challenged Indian-origin Malaysian man found guilty of drug trafficking. Under Singapore’s laws, those caught carrying more than 15 grams of heroin are subject to the death penalty.
Singapore, which has some of the world’s toughest drug laws, resumed executions in March after a hiatus of more than two years when it executed another drug trafficker. The fresh hangings have raised concerns among activists that the country will soon carry out more executions. There are currently an estimated 60 people on Singapore’s death row.
The government has defended its use of judicial executions as a deterrent against serious crimes such as drug trafficking and murder, even amid intensifying global pressure from activists and some Western countries over the practice. In a BBC interview last week, Singapore’s home affairs and law minister K Shanmugam underscored that the country was unapologetic about its hardline stance against drug trafficking, and for retaining capital punishment.