Singapore refutes Malaysian rights panel's charges on 'brutal' execution methods

The Singapore Home Ministry trashes charges, saying that LFL is trying to save Malaysians on death row in Singapore

Singapore lashed out at a Malaysian human rights organisation on Wednesday following allegations that people on death row are brutally executed in the country. The charges made by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) are "untrue, baseless and preposterous", the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.

The home ministry also started action against the rights organisation and other entities that supported its claims under the Protection From Online Falsehoods And Manipulation Act (POFMA). The Lawyer's for Liberty, the Online Citizen, Yahoo Singapore and an individual Facebook user are required to issue a correction, stating that their reports contained falsehoods.

How did the controversy start?

The row broke out after the Lawyers for Liberty published a statement criticising the execution methods followed in Singapore. The most startling accusation was that prisoners on death row are "executed brutally and unlawfully by kicks to the neck whenever the rope breaks."

Singapore capital punishment
Majid Kavousifar and Hossein Kavousifar, his nephew, hang from the cable of a crane in Tehran August 2, 2007 Reuters

Singapore categorically denied the charge saying that the rope used for judicial executions has never broken before. The statement had also alleged that the Singapore Government approved of the 'unlawful methods' and that there have been attempts to cover up these methods.

Trying to save Malaysian on death row in Singapore?

The Singapore Home Ministry trashed all charges, saying that LFL is trying to save Malaysians on death row in Singapore. "LFL has been publishing various falsehoods to seek attention in hopes of getting Malaysian prisoners, who have been convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Singapore, off the death penalty," the MHA said in a statement, according to the Channel News Asia.

Singapore drug offence
Singapore drug offence Singapore Police Force

The home ministry also observed that some individuals and groups in Singapore are also spreading the falsehood. "Regrettably, there are some individuals and groups in Singapore who are spreading LFL's latest allegations," the statement said.

Strict guidelines and norms

The MHA also reiterated that it is following the strict guidelines and norms in every judicial execution. A coroner is always present at executions and an inquiry is held immediately to make sure that the execution was held as per law. "For the record, the rope used for judicial executions has never broken before, and prison officers certainly do not receive any 'special training to carry out the brutal execution method' as alleged," MHA said.