2 Pakistani men face capital punishment in Singapore for murder charges

In Singapore, murder convictions are punishable by death and carried out by hanging.

Two Pakistani men faces capital punishment in Singapore for murder charges
Representational Image -- Majid Kavousifar and Hossein Kavousifar, his nephew, hang from the cable of a crane in Tehran August 2, 2007 Reuters

Two Pakistani men were sentenced to death on Friday in Singapore after a court found them guilty of murdering a fellow citizen over a gambling dispute and dismembering the body. Reports said the torso and lower limbs of the 59-year-old victim were found stuffed in two separate luggage bags.

Rasheed Muhammad, 45, and Ramzan Rizwan, 28, the two street-side tissue sellers were convicted of strangling fellow Pakistani Muhammad Noor to death in their lodging house in 2014. Later they hacked the body with saws. "As the photographs and evidence of the discarded limbs and torso show, both Rasheed and Ramzan acted in concert after the murder as they did before and during it," High Court Judge Choo Han Teck said while giving his judgement. In Singapore, murder convictions are punishable by death and carried out by hanging.

Both Rasheed and Ramzan arrived in Singapore in May 2014, and sold packets of tissue paper to earn their livelihood. But, later the dispute started after the pair sought to retrieve Sg$1,100 ($776) that Ramzan had lost to the victim in a card game.

The convicts used a shirt to smother the victim and then purchased saw to dismantle the body. The court documents showed that an 81-year-old man found the bag with the torso, while the other one containing the legs was subsequently shown by Rasheed.

The defence lawyers for the pair argued in the court that their clients did not intend to commit murder. The lawyers said Rasheed, who is a father of eight, and Ramzan, a father of three, will appeal the conviction.

The highest court in Singapore upheld the death sentence of a former Singapore policeman for double murder earlier in February. According to prison statistics, Singapore executed four people in 2015, one for murder and three for drug offences.

Meanwhile, the rights group has called on Singapore to abolish capital punishment that was carried over from British colonial rule. But, in response, the government has argued that death sentence is a deterrent to crime.