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Drug: Singapore activists plead for Africans on death row

Posted by Punch on 2006/08/28 | Views: 736 |

Drug: Singapore activists plead for Africans on death row


A group of Singapore activists on Sunday, pleaded for presidential clemency for two convicted African drug traffickers who have been sentenced to hang.

A group of Singapore activists on Sunday, pleaded for presidential clemency for two convicted African drug traffickers who have been sentenced to hang.

The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Committee held a forum in support of 19-year-old Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, from Nigeria, and Okele Nelson Malachy, 33, who is stateless, according to local human rights lawyer, M. Ravi.

“It’s an unfair trial process. It is also cruel and inhuman to impose such a heinous punishment,” Ravi told Agence France Presse after giving a speech at the forum.

According to Amnesty International last month, both Tochi and Malachy lost their final appeal against the death sentence in March and only presidential clemency can save them from the gallows.

The two were arrested on November 27, 2004 at Singapore’s Changi airport while attempting to smuggle more than 700 grams (25 ounces) of heroin, the London-based human rights group said.

Under Singapore’s tough anti-drug laws, the death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis.

A person caught in possession of illegal substances is assumed to be trafficking, thus putting the burden of proof on the accused.

“The onus is on you to prove, not the prosecution. Therefore, you are guilty until proven innocent... where is the burden of proof?” Ravi said in his speech.

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