18 July 2014

Statement by MHA in response to media queries regarding capital punishment

                     CNB issued a statement regarding the execution of convicted drug traffickers (see link). Please see MHA’s statement in response to media queries regarding capital punishment.

                    Capital punishment applies only to the most serious offences that cause grave harm to others and to society. All persons who are sentenced to capital punishment are accorded full due process under the law, including the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Appeal. They can also submit a petition for Clemency.

2.               A thorough review of the mandatory death penalty regime in our laws was conducted from July 2011. During the review, a moratorium on executions was imposed.

3.                The changes to the mandatory death penalty regime were debated fully before being passed by Parliament in November 2012. These changes came into force on 1 January 2013. Those awaiting capital punishment under the Misuse of Drugs Act or the Penal Code when the new legislation came into force were given the opportunity to elect to be considered for re-sentencing under the new regime.

4.               As at 1 January 2013, when the new statutory provisions came into force, there were 35 persons awaiting capital punishment, 28 for drug offences and 7 for murder.

5.              Since then, 1 had his conviction set aside by the Court of Appeal and 1 passed away from natural causes. 2 persons elected not to be considered for re-sentencing under the new statutory provisions and have had their sentences carried out on 18 July 2014.

6.               9 of the other 31 persons have applied to the courts for their sentences to be reviewed and have had their cases heard. They have been re-sentenced to life imprisonment, and, where relevant, to caning. AGC has filed appeals against the sentence of life imprisonment for 2 of these cases.

7.              The other 22 persons who were awaiting capital punishment as at 1 January 2013 are at various stages of the appeal, re-sentencing or Clemency processes, or have filed other legal challenges.

8.              Since 1 January 2013, there has been 1 additional person sentenced to capital punishment.