There is a death penalty in Singapore

Court proceedings in the corona crisis: man sentenced to death by zoom negotiation


In view of the corona crisis, video conferences are experiencing an impressive high, also in the judiciary. In Singapore, a man has now been sentenced to death via video link. Human rights organizations protest.

In Singapore, drug trafficking carries the death penalty. A drug dealer is anyone who has more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis with you. The state is known for its harsh penalties, but despite global criticism, particularly with regard to the death penalty, is sticking to its tough sanctions policy.

Now Singapore has again received criticism from human rights organizations. A court there sentenced a 37-year-old to death. The Malaysian Punithan Genasan is accused of drug trafficking. The punishment: death by hanging. The unusual thing about it: The verdict was made in a video conference on the Zoom platform.

There is currently a strict lockdown in Singapore due to the corona crisis. Accordingly, court dates are also suspended. Only urgent negotiations are to take place. For the time being, the regulations apply until June 1, 2020. Apparently they couldn't wait that long before pronouncing the death sentence. It was "a decision in the interests of the safety of all concerned," said a spokeswoman for the court, like the agency Reuters reported.

Human rights organizations: "Inhuman behavior"

Human rights organizations criticize this practice as "inhuman behavior". Phil Robertson, assistant director of Human Rights Watch for Asia, expressed grave concern about the rushed conviction against Zoom. A few weeks ago, a man was sentenced to death in Nigeria via Zoom.

The man's lawyer in Singapore announced that he would appeal the decision. But not because of the verdict, like Reuters reported. The judge was said to be "loud and clear" through Zoom. The defense attorney, on the other hand, describes as unfair parts of the proceedings that had started in the usual way before the lockdown.

ast / LTO editorial team