Singapore Prepares to Execute Woman for Drug Trafficking, Breaking 20-Year Record
Criminal Investigations Criminal Justice Reforms Singapore

Singapore Prepares to Execute Woman for Drug Trafficking, Breaking 20-Year Record


Singapore is on the brink of carrying out its first execution of a woman in nearly two decades, with a report by AFP drawing attention to the controversial move. This week, the country is preparing to execute two drug convicts, raising concerns among human rights organizations that have called for an immediate halt to the executions.

According to the Transformative Justice Collective (TJC), a local human rights group, a 56-year-old man convicted of trafficking 50 grams of heroin is scheduled to face the gallows at Changi Prison on Wednesday. The following day, Saridewi Djamani, a 45-year-old woman sentenced to death in 2018 for trafficking around 30 grams of heroin, is also set to be executed.

Should the execution proceed as planned, it will mark the first time Singapore has put a woman to death since 2004 when Yen May Woen, a 36-year-old hairdresser, was hanged for drug trafficking, as stated by TJC activist Kokila Annamalai in an interview with AFP.

Amnesty International, a prominent rights watchdog, has issued a strong appeal to Singapore, urging authorities to reconsider the impending executions. The organization’s death penalty expert, Chiara Sangiorgio, criticized Singapore’s pursuit of more executions in the name of drug control, labeling it as “unconscionable.” She highlighted the lack of evidence supporting the death penalty as an effective deterrent for drug-related offenses, pointing to the global trend of countries moving towards drug policy reforms and abolishing capital punishment.

Despite international pressure, Singapore maintains its stance that the death penalty is an essential crime deterrent. TJC has confirmed that both individuals facing execution are Singaporean citizens, and their families have already received notifications about the scheduled dates.

Singapore’s strict approach to capital punishment extends to certain crimes, including murder and specific forms of kidnapping. The country is also known for its stringent anti-drug laws, where trafficking over 500 grams of cannabis or 15 grams of heroin can result in the death penalty.

Since resuming executions after a two-year hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore has carried out at least 13 hangings. As the global discourse surrounding the death penalty and drug policies intensifies, these upcoming executions have sparked considerable controversy and ignited debates about human rights, justice, and the efficacy of capital punishment.

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