Anti-drug laws in the limelight as Singapore executes woman for the first time in almost two decades

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anti drug laws in the limelight as singapore executes woman for the first time in almost two decades (2)

Singapore is known to have some of the toughest anti-drug regulations in the world. The law specifies the death penalty will be imposed on anyone caught trafficking over 15g of heroin or 500g of cannabis. The city-state stresses such rules are necessary to protect society.

On Friday, Singaporean national Saridewi Djamani became the first woman in the country to receive capital punishment in almost 20 years, officials confirmed. The 45-year-old was found guilty of trafficking 30g of heroin in 2018.

Saridewi was sentenced to death on July 6 that year, with the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) saying the convict was granted “full due process” under the law. While an appeal against her conviction was dismissed last October, a petition for a presidential pardon was also unsuccessful.

She is the 15th drug convict to receive the punishment since March 2022 and the second this week, after fellow Singaporean Mohd Aziz bin Hussain was hanged on Wednesday after being found guilty of trafficking 50g of heroin in 2017.

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Saridewi was one of two women on death row in Singapore, according to Transformative Justice Collective. She testified during her trial that she was stocking up on the drug for personal use, local media reported.

While she did not deny selling drugs from her flat, she tried to downplay the scale of those practices, noted Judge See Kee Oon. Executions have frequently drawn flak from British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who stresses the penalty is not a deterrent against crime.

Authorities argue Singapore’s strict drug laws make it one of the world’s safest places and that the death penalty for drug offences receives wide public support. But critics of capital punishment are often seen contesting the claim.

There is no evidence the punishment has any impact on the use of drugs, said Amnesty International’s Chiara Sangiorgio. The NGO noted that Singapore is one of just four countries to have recently carried out executions for drug offences, alongside China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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