Singapore hangs Indian-origin man over smuggling of 1 kg of cannabis


Singapore executed 46-year-old Tangaraju Suppiah, a person of Indian origin, who was convicted of conspiracy to smuggle a kilogram of cannabis. This comes amid calls by international organisations to abolish capital punishment in the island-nation.

The hanging took place amid widespread calls by international organisations, including the United Nations Human Rights Office, asking the Singaporean government to “urgently reconsider” the execution. “Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah, 46, had his capital sentence carried out today at Changi Prison Complex,” a spokesperson for the Singapore Prisons Service told the media.

He was detained in 2014 for drug consumption and failure to report for a drug test.

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday strongly reacted to British billionaire Richard Branson’s blog post “Why Tangaraju Suppiah doesn’t deserve to die”, which claimed that Suppiah’s conviction did not meet standards and that “Singapore may be about to kill an innocent man”.

The ministry said Branson’s views on a Singaporean on death row showed “disrespect” for the country’s judges and criminal justice system. “Tangaraju was involved in a case with two others, where his phone numbers were used to communicate with the two others involved in the delivery of the cannabis,” the MHA said, adding that the High Court also found that Tangaraju had the intention to traffic the cannabis.

The ministry reiterated Singapore’s “zero-tolerance” stance and “multi-pronged approach” to tackling drug abuse, which includes rehabilitation programmes. “The death penalty is an essential component of Singapore’s criminal justice system and has been effective in keeping Singapore safe and secure,” said the MHA, adding that it is applied “judiciously with stringent safeguards”.

Last September, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said Singapore’s policy of having the death penalty for drug trafficking is in the interest of Singaporeans.