A man has been sentenced to death in Singapore by way of a Zoom video-call for his half in a drug deal, the city-state’s first case the place capital punishment has been carried out remotely.
Singapore has a zero-tolerance coverage for prohibited medication and has hanged a whole lot of individuals – together with dozens of foreigners – for narcotics crimes over previous many years, rights teams say.
“Singapore’s use of the death penalty is inherently merciless and inhumane, and the usage of distant know-how like Zoom to sentence a man to death makes it much more so,” stated Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. HRW has additionally examined an analogous case in Nigeria the place a death sentence was delivered by way of Zoom.
Punithan Genasan, a 37-year-old Malaysian, acquired the sentence for his function in a 2011 heroin transaction on Friday, court docket paperwork revealed, with the nation underneath lockdown to attempt to management one of many highest coronavirus charges in Asia.
“For the safety of all included in the proceedings, the listening to for Public Prosecutor v Punithan A/L Genasan was led by video-conferencing,” a spokesperson for Singapore’s Supreme Court docket stated in response to Reuters’ questions, ordering restrictions imposed to decrease virus unfold.
It was the primary felony case the place a death sentence was declared by distant listening to in Singapore, the spokesperson added.
Genasan’s lawyer, Peter Fernando, instructed his shopper to obtain the decide’s verdict on a Zoom call and is contemplating an enchantment.
Whereas rights teams have criticized the usage of Zoom in capital circumstances, Fernando instructed he didn’t object to the usage of video-conferencing for Friday’s call because it was solely to obtain the decide’s verdict, which may very well be understood clearly, and no different authorized arguments had been conferred.
California-based tech agency Zoom didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark made by way of its representatives in Singapore. The Lawyer Normal’s Chambers, the general public prosecutor, referred Reuters’ questions to the Supreme Court docket.
Many court docket hearings in Singapore have been adjourned throughout a lockdown interval that started in early April and is due to run till June 1, whereas circumstances thought-about important have been held remotely.