Singapore Set to Execute First Woman in Almost 20 Years for Trafficking 20 Grams of Heroin

The country maintains a strict stance on drug-related offenses and enforces severe penalties to deter drug trafficking and abuse.

Singapore is set to execute two drug traffickers this week, including the first woman to be sent to the gallows in nearly 20 years, according to rights groups who are calling for the hangings to be halted. According to the local rights organization Transformative Justice Collective (TJC), a 45-year-old woman convict, Saridewi Djamani is set to be executed by hanging on Friday.

Djamani was sentenced to death in 2018 for trafficking 30 grams of heroin. If the execution is carried out, she will become the first woman to be executed in Singapore since 2004 when 36-year-old hairdresser Yen May Woen was hanged for drug trafficking, as stated by TJC activist Kokila Annamalai.

First in Two Decades

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According to TJC, both prisoners are Singaporean, and their families have been notified of the scheduled dates for their executions. The other person to be executed is a 56-year-old man, who was convicted of trafficking 50 grams of heroin.

He is scheduled to be hanged on Wednesday at Changi Prison, the Southeast Asian city-state's correctional facility.

As of now, prison officials have not verified or confirmed TJC's assertion regarding the two upcoming executions.

Singapore does impose the death penalty for specific offenses, such as murder and certain types of kidnapping.

Singapore is known for having some of the world's most stringent anti-drug laws. Trafficking over 500 grams of cannabis or 15 grams of heroin can lead to the death penalty. The country maintains a strict stance on drug-related offenses and enforces severe penalties to deter drug trafficking and abuse.

At least 13 people have been hanged in Singapore since the government resumed executions after a two-year pause during the Covid-19 pandemic. The country's authorities have taken a stringent approach to carrying out the death penalty for certain crimes despite the global health crisis.

Strictest Punishment

Singapore city
Singapore city Reuters

One among the 13 executed in Singapore is 64-year-old Nazeri Lajim, who was put to death on July 22, 2022, for drug trafficking.

Human rights organization Amnesty International has called on Singapore to stop the impending executions. The group is urging the government to reconsider its stance on the death penalty and to respect the right to life.

"It is unconscionable that authorities in Singapore continue to cruelly pursue more executions in the name of drug control," a statement from Amnesty's death penalty expert Chiara Sangiorgio read.

"There is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect or that it has any impact on the use and availability of drugs.

"As countries around the world do away with the death penalty and embrace drug policy reform, Singapore's authorities are doing neither," Sangiorgio added.

Singapore maintains that the death penalty serves as an effective deterrent to crime.

In April, Tangaraju Suppiah was executed despite a plea from the United Nations Human Rights Office for Singapore to "urgently reconsider" the decision.

"Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, had his capital sentence carried out today, April 26, at Changi Prison Complex," a spokesman for the Singapore Prison Service said.

Tangaraju was found guilty in 2017 of "abetting by engaging in a conspiracy to traffic" 2.24 pounds of marijuana, which is double the amount needed for a death sentence in Singapore.

Related topics : Singapore crime