The execution of a Malaysian man convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore yesterday (Wednesday, April 27) has thrown the country's draconian Death Row facilities into sharp focus again.
Unlike other death penalty countries like America, Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that still uses hanging as its method of execution.
There are a total of 32 crimes which can carry the death penalty sentence with four of them (drug trafficking, murder, terrorism, possession of explosives) having a mandatory death sentence.
However, in 2012, an amendment was made to say that in select cases this sentence could instead be commuted to life imprisonment with caning.
This usually involves 24 strokes of the whip on the bare bum of the prisoner every day until they die.
If the state is committed to making the prisoner hang, however, there is one place and one place only they will go, and that's Changi Prison.
The imposing fortress houses the entirety of Singapore's grim Death Row apparatus including the gallows.
Unlike in America, where friends and family members are permitted into the execution chamber, in Singapore prisoners are executed alone at dawn on a Friday.
Prisoners are led from their padded cells to the execution chamber to a specially measured rope designed to fit to their neck.
Death, it is thought, is instantaneous.
Also unlike the US, Singapore does not allow its inmates a slap-up last meal.
Instead two days before their execution, the prisoner will be given their own clothes and allowed to pose for a photoshoot for their families to remember them by.
Singapore's continued use of the death penalty has been criticised by many organisations including Amnesty International.
Yesterday Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 34, was executed after a decade-long stay on Death Row despite appeals on the grounds he had an intellectual disability, his family said.
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Responding to the execution, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Erwin van der Borght said: “The execution of Nagaenthran is a disgraceful act by the Singapore government – ruthlessly carried out despite extensive protests in Singapore and Malaysia and an outcry across the world."
The Singapore government says the death penalty is a deterrent against serious crime and most of its citizens support capital punishment.
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