General News of Friday, 16 March 2018
A Ghanaian, Billy Agbozo, has been executed in Singapore after a court convicted him of drug-related offenses in 2016.
The Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore announced earlier this week that it had executed Agbozo on Friday, 9 March 2018.
The deceased, 39 years old, was convicted for importing 1,634.9 grams of methamphetamine, and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty in July 2016 for the offense.
Agbozo had traveled by air from Accra to Dubai in April 2013, before leaving for Singapore.
He was however arrested upon arrival in Singapore after officials at a checkpoint noticed the wall of his suitcase was painted with white, crystalline substances identified to be over 1,630 g of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $137,000.
His plea for Presidential clemency, thus mercy, last week was rejected hence his execution.
His execution brings to total, 19, the number of executions carried out in the South East Asian country since the 2012 legislative reforms came into force.
Reports say the executions involved 16 men convicted of drug-related offences.
Following the adoption of the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Act 2012 and the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012 on 14 November 2014, the courts of Singapore can now use their discretion not to impose the death penalty in certain circumstances.
In drug-related cases, defendants may be spared the death penalty if they are found to have been involved only in transporting, sending or delivering a prohibited substance (as “couriers”), and if the Public Prosecutor can certify that they cooperated with the Central Narcotics Bureau to disrupt further drug-related activities.
For all other circumstances, the punishment remains the mandatory death penalty.
The Central Narcotics Bureau’s announcement of the Ghanaian’s execution comes after human rights campaigners raised alarm over a planned execution of a Singaporean, Hishamrudin Bin Mohd, 56, scheduled for Friday 16 March for possessing nearly 35 grams of diamorphine for the purpose of trafficking in 2016 although he has pleaded not guilty.
Hishamrudin Bin Mohd’s family members were told on 12 March 2018 at the end of their visit, that the execution by hanging of Hishamrudin Bin Mohd was set for 16 March.
The authorities in Singapore do not make information on scheduled executions available to the public, however, in rare instances such as this, it makes a public announcement of it before it is carried out.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has called on Singapore to cease the executions and change its laws.
Amnesty International’s director of South East Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez said, “this execution must be stopped immediately. The Singaporean authorities only have two days to do the right thing and ensure that yet another life is not lost to its callous anti-drug laws.”