On the Execution of Kho Jabing

For Immediate Release
20th May 2016

On the Execution of Kho Jabing

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemns the execution of Kho Jabing by the Government of Singapore on the 20th May 2016.

Despite the unanswered concerns regarding the impartiality of the appeal proceeding, the Government of Singapore have refused to answer the public plea for clemency and unconscionably carried out the sentence at 3.30PM after the dismissal of Kho Jabing’s appeal on the morning of 20th May 2016.

The concerns that Kho Jabing’s right to fair trial was violated was affirmed when Justice of Appeal, Andrew Phang failed to recuse himself and sat as part of the coram of judges who heard his motion on the 19th May 2016. SUARAM would like to reiterate the importance of an impartial tribunal especially in cases involving the use of capital punishment and remind the Government of Singapore the importance of the notion that justice need not only be done, but seen to be done. The failure to ensure justice had been done in this case would forevermore tarnish Singapore’s ability to provide a fair trial for those seeking justice in its legal system.

Further, the doubt as to whether Kho Jabing the prosecution had adequately proved the necessary mens rea for Kho Jabing’s act to tantamount to murder expressed by some of the presiding judges during the trial should have been taken into account during the sentencing. Despite the existing doubts, the death sentence was still imposed on Kho Jabing. The failure to account for this clearly violates the recognized international norms where capital punishment can only be imposed when the crime meets the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’.

In light of these concerns, the refusal to provide for a stay of execution and the apathy shown by Government of Singapore in regards to the plea for clemency by the family and members of the public can only be described as callous and unconscionable to say the least.

The death penalty does not provide justice and in this case it has caused a great injustice to the family of the deceased. This execution also marks Singapore departure from the norms of developed states where the use of capital punishment has been gradually phased out. The insistence that capital punishment remain a facet of its criminal justice system clearly show its disinclination to join the rank of developed country in regards to its recognition of human rights. SUARAM reiterate our stance that the use of capital punishment must be abolished and call upon governments which still endorses the use of capital punishment to re-examine the use of capital punishment and instate a moratorium on it immediately!

In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director